Toledo Museum of Art

“The agony in the garden,” by El Greco (1541–1614). Praying on the Mount of Olives before his arrest, Jesus begged God to deliver him from suffering and death; “An angel from heaven appeared to [Jesus] and gave him strength” (Luke 22:43). Below the angel, Peter, John and James sleep, despite Jesus’ repeated plea that his disciples remain awake while he prays. In the distance, Judas arrives with a crowd to arrest Jesus.

El Greco created a harsh, rocky terrain for Gethsemane and placed the sleeping disciples in a shallow cave. By the Renaissance the cave had come to be associated with Jesus’ prayer and was referred to as “the Cave of the Agony.” The cave was not, however, connected with Jesus’ arrest.