Monday, February 22, 2010

The Agony in the Garden

Title: The Agony in the Garden

Artist: Hans Leonhard Schaufelein

Medium: Lime panel

Size: tbd.

Date: 1516

Location: Alte Pinakothek, Munich.

Mark 14:37-42 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Simon," he said to Peter, "are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.

Returning the third time, he said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!"

Jesus’ exhortation that “The spirit is willing, but the body is weak” is not meant in the later Gnostic or Neo-Platonic sense (the soul is intrinsically good and the body is evil), but rather that though one means well, the body is susceptible to exhaustion. In fact, there are allusions here to the servants left in charge by their master in the parable told by Jesus in Mark 13:34-37: "...keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!' "

Hans Leonhard Schäufelein (c. 1480 – 1540) was a German painter, designer, and wood engraver. As a painter he was much influenced by Dürer, his master, but his woodcuts are generally considered more original and more important than his pictures. He often signed his works HS with a little shovel (Schäuffelein).

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