The artwork piece is according to St. Luke's Gospel but omits the sleeping disciples account as per the gospels of Mark and Matthew. Christ is on his knees praying in the garden and an angel descents from heaven to give him strength for what he is about to endure in a few hours time when he is betrayed by his own disciple (Judas) and arrested. Knowing the events to come caused Christ more agony and is the main reason he went to the garden to pray earnestly. The artwork further illustrates his sweats to be like drops of blood as they fall to the ground.
According William Blake's patrons, he was an ardent admirer of the bible and its intimate beauties. This account is visible in his many biblical account painting that are already in many museums. Plus, he was well acquainted with the finer details and used his imaginations to bring them to life.
What does the artwork portray?
The artwork displays the state Jesus Christ was in at his most fearful hour. There are signs of helplessness and a desire to be freed from the burden of what was to come. Christ knew the heavy burden taking the cup of sin for all mankind will be like. Hence, was on his knees praying for the strength to endure it all. The landscape encloses the two magnificent figures and expresses the drama of that moment. The angel arrives to banish the darkness and give Christ strength at his weakest moment. The Agony in the Garden painting is dated 1779-1800 and is among the numerous biblical paintings done by William Blake.
What does Christ kneeling signify?
Kneeling is a common prayer position when in deep remorse or when in need of grace. The striking landscape features depicts a dark hour. The angel grabs him to give him strength and comfort for what he is about to bear. It signifies heavenly care in a moment of uncertainty and doubt. The painting draws deep emotions and the desperation state Christ was in at that particular time. This artwork captures the moment Christ accepted the burden gracefully. A moment of light in a night full of terrors and self-doubt. It's a great art piece that illustrates the responsibility he took to accept the cup of salvation.