The Prayer for the Chalice, Andrea Mantegna, 1455

Description of the picture:

Prayer for the bowl – Andrea Mantegna. 1455
Before us is one of the most dramatic gospel stories. The rescuer with his beloved disciples left for prayer. But the disciples doze. In the distance, Judas, the guards, is already visible. In desperation, Christ turns to the Pope with a request to free him from suffering. But the angels of heaven who appeared to communicate the Higher Will extend the cross as a sign of future suffering.

A dream in Christian ideology is spiritual death. The rabbits with which the picture abounds are a symbol of timidity and carnal joy. The sleeping apostles left their Master. At their feet there is a group of rabbits, quietly gnawing something edible. Rabbits run away from the Savior himself. Symbolizing that God’s beginning in the Savior conquers the human, the disciples succumbed precisely to human weaknesses.

The work is written accurately and very clearly. Bold brush strokes, creative use of perspective and an abundance of characters fill the work with an atmosphere of anxiety and unkind premonition.

Fantastic mountains, a symbolic image of Jerusalem, bare trees, overhanging a heavy sky – every detail is not accidental. A black raven sitting on a branch of a lifeless tree is waiting in the wings …"

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