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Wednesday 22 March 2017

Goltzius’ engraving, “The Agony in the Garden”, 1597

Hendrik Goltzius (aka Hendrick Goltzius) (1558–1617)
“The Agony in the Garden”, 1597, from the series, “The Passion”
Engraving on fine laid paper trimmed at the platemark and lined onto a conservator’s support sheet.
Size (sheet) 20.2 x 13.6 cm
Lettered with monogram and dated in lower left: "A.o 97 / HG". Numbered in lower left: “2.”

New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 18 (Hendrick Goltzius); Hirschmann 1921 22; Hollstein 22.I; Strauss 1977 342; Bartsch III.20.28; TIB 3(3).28 (20) p. 35.

The British Museum offers the following description of this print: “Plate 2: Christ praying on the Mount of Olives at Gethsemane; an angel appears to Christ and addresses Him; in the foreground three of Christ's apostles are huddled together and fast asleep; beyond a contingent of soldiers emerge from a gateway at right. 1597 Engraving” (

The curator of the BM advises that there is a preparatory drawing for this print in Leipzig (Reznicek 34)

See also the copy of this print at the British Museum by Abraham Hogenberg (fl.1590–1656). Close comparison of this print with the copy and the original Goltzius held by the BM confirms that impression is from the hand of Goltzius.

Condition: crisp silvery impression with the lower right corner restored and a tear at the middle right side (now supported by the conservator’s sheet of fine washi paper upon which the whole print is laid). There is also minor areas discolouration towards the lower left corner.

I am selling this original engraving by Goltzius for the total cost of AU$440 (currently US$337.03/EUR312/GBP270.20 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing rare print from 1597 by one of the most famous printmakers of that time, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

In an earlier post also featuring a print by Goltzius—or more correctly, a print reproducing a Goltzius’ engraving by an unidentified printmaker—I lightly touched upon the mercurial element that distinguishes a copy from an original print. In this earlier post, I used the word, “life”, to describe this difficult to define element. What I meant by this vague term is the notion of “life” being an approximation for the visual expression of an artist’s spirit and personal vision embodied in the nuanced phrasing of each line (i.e. transitional changes in the thickness and shape of the line) and treatment of the portrayed subject.

In this original print by the hand of Goltzius, for instance, note how Goltzius portrays the sleeping figures (Jesus’ disciples) as if they are genuinely asleep as opposed to perfunctorily drawn models arranged to give the appearance that they are asleep. This projection of authenticity is not something that is simply about portraying the figures with their eyes shut. Rather, it’s about the way in which each mark is inscribed and the accumulative effect of line, tone and organisation that come together to express the notion of sleep. Note, for instance, the void of darkness surrounding the heads of the two further away disciples and the spiralling rhythms in figures’ poses that connote the state of sleep.

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