Oil on canvas
142 x 192
State Russian Museum
Nikolai Ge painted mostly Gospel subjects in the final years of his career in art. His cycle of works dedicated to the life of Jesus Christ is one of the finest achievements of both his own life and the Russian Realist painting of the 1880s and early 1890s. Work on Christ and the Disciples Entering the Garden of Gethsemane coincided with a period of close contacts with Leo Tolstoy, who greatly influenced the artist’s own ethical viewpoints. Like Tolstoy, Ge presents himself and the viewer with a moral dilemma in this work. The unusual colour scheme is deliberately intended to bring out the emotional aspects of the theme the figures of Christ and the disciples are immersed in darkness and virtually indiscernible.
Ge, Nikolai Nikoiaevich
1831, Voronezh - 1894, Ivanovskoe (Chernihiv Province)
Painter, draughtsman, history and religious painter, portraitist, landscapist. Studied mathematics at Kiev University (1847-48) and St Petersburg University (1848- 50). Studied under Pyotr Basin at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1850-57) and influenced by Karl Brullov and Alexander Ivanov. Fellow of the Imperial Academy of Arts in Rome and Florence (1857-63). Lived in Florence (until 1869). Professor (1863; resigned 1869). Founding member of the Society of Travelling Art Exhibitions (1871). Influenced by Leo Tolstoy (i88os). Lived in Kiev and St Petersburg, moved to Ivanovskoe in Chernihiv Province (1876). Contributed to the exhibitions of the Imperial Academy of Arts (from 1857), Society of Travelling Art Exhibitions (1871-94), Exposition Universelle in Paris (1867) and the International Exhibitions in Munich (1869) and London (1873). One-man show at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1870).