(b. 1431, Isola di Carturo, d. 1506, Mantova)
Agony in the Gardenc. 1459
Tempera on wood, 63 x 80 cm
National Gallery, London
In 1453 or 1454 Mantegna married Nicolosia Bellini and in so doing allies himself professionally with her brother, Giovanni, to whom he imparts Donatellian ideas. The two London panels depicting the Agony in the Garden by Mantegna and by Bellini respectively define the artistic interdependence of the two brothers-in-law: the technical innovations and organization of the Paduan painter and the pre-eminence of the Venetian in the field of light and colour.
This painting may have been made for private devotional use, a function for which this iconography is appropriate. Mantegna's signature is inscribed, in Latin, on the rocks.