Virgil Solis the Elder

Agony in the Garden, 1552
woodcut in black on cream wove paper
4.75 x 3.25 in
SKU: 12704g
This woodcut print, depicting the 'Agony in the Garden,' is a rare image coming from a small passional. A passional was a popular kind of devotional text for the layperson describing the suffering of saints and martyrs, the Passion of Christ, and readings for holidays and feast days. For this early printed text, Solis made forty woodcut illustrations after the compositions from Albrecht Dürer's 'Small Passion' series. The passional for which these prints were made was presumably influenced by the vast cultural and religious changes surrounding the Protestant reformation, especially the work of Martin Luther. 'Agony in the Garden' is an important moment in the Passion narrative which appears in all four of the gospels. It describes the moment when Christ prayed to God the Father in the garden of Gethsemane while his apostles slept. This illustration seems to describe the account of Luke, which in the twenty-second chapter. Luke wrote that Christ said a prayer three times, checking on the three apostles between each prayer and finding them asleep. He commented: "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak". An angel came from heaven to strengthen him. During his agony as he prayed: "His sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood falling down upon the ground." woodcut in black on cream wove paper from a small passional copy in reverse after Albrecht Dürer printed by Valentin Geissler in Nuremberg after 1552 4.75 x 3.25 inches, sheet 14.63 x 13 inches, frame monogram VS in the block, lower left collector's stamp of Antoine Vivenel (French, 1799–1862) in red ink, lower left (Lugt L.190) overall good and stable condition; some signs of discoloration and old restoration; restored losses upper right and left corners; restored tear lower right corner; margins cut to image; mounted to lining paper presented in a gold leaf moulding, mounted on cream matboard and protected behind glass; framed to conservation standards using archival materials