1641 Sangerhausen - Dresden 1707

Agony in the Garden

etching on laid paper; sheet 303 x 224 mm (12 x 8 13/16 inches)

Philadelphia Museum of Art (acc. no. 1928-42-4172)
de-accessioned in 2017

A fine impression of this very rare print; trimmed on or just inside the platemark at left, the other three sides with small margins.

Samuel Bottschild was a third-generation painter of an artist’s family from Sangerhausen in the Southern part of the Harz mountain range in central Germany. After training with his father Andreas the Younger, Samuel left his hometown to go to Dresden in 1669. Three years later he went to Italy together with his cousin Heinrich Christoph Fehling. They travelled to Venice where they met Carl Loth, then on to Rome in 1674 and two years later back to Venice. In 1677 the Saxon Elector Johann Georg II appointed him as court painter, a position he maintained until his death. He was a prolific painter of portraits, altarpieces, and many architectural decorations. He was not only one of the foremost Dresden painters of the later seventeenth century but can also be counted as an important contributor to the tradition of monumental painting in Germany of the period. He furthermore founded the first drawing school in Dresden which under Elector, later King August became the Dresden Academy in 1697.

Since most of his architectural paintings do not survive, Bottschild’s art can be best appreciated in his drawings as well as in his prints. The majority of the latter were published in 1693 by Moritz Bodenehr in a compendium with the title OPERA VARIA HISTORICA POETICA. Bottschild apparently excelled at the design of ceiling decorations. The present print, depicting Christ at the Mount of Olives, is therefore a typical and representative example of the artist’s work which shows his secure and surprisingly free handling of the etching needle.