This is a large semi-circular painting (lunette) with several figures arranged to accomodate the shape of the canvas. It is night time, so the scene is enveloped in darkness. In the top center area, there is an angel, surrounded by bright light, who holds out a golden goblet toward a man kneeling before him. This man, with arms outstretched, looks up toward the goblet and the face of the angel. His face is illuminated by the light. He is wearing a bright red robe and a dark blue cloak. In the left foreground, there are three men who are sleeping. Two are sitting on the ground and the third, an elderly man with white hair, is reclining in front of them. They have dark blue and brown cloaks wrapped around them. On the lower right, shown in the far distance, is a group of people walking toward the kneeling figure. This scene is painted in dark tones of brown, green, blue and gray, except for the red robe of the kneeling man and areas on faces, arms and legs which are highlighted by a bright light.
This painting depicts a scene from the Passion of Jesus Christ, as told in the New Testament. Following the Last Supper, Jesus and three of his disciples went to the Mount of Olives so that he could pray. He asked Peter, James and John to stand guard, but they fell asleep. During his time of prayer, Jesus accepted his fate, " My Father, if this chalice may not pass away but I must drink it, thy will be done" (Matthew 26:42). Judas brought soldiers to the Mount of Olives and betrayed Jesus with a kiss.
Here, Jesus is shown kneeling with his arms outstretched toward an angel who holds a goblet. These two figures are illuminated by a bright light that provides a strong contrast with the surrounding darkness. On the left are the three disciples. John, in a brown cloak, sits asleep with his head propped on an arm. James, in a blue cloak, sits slumped over. Peter, an old man with white hair and beard, lies sleeping on the ground. The figure of Christ and the grouping of the disciples follow the curved shape of the lunette frame which was designed to fit in the architectural space of a church chapel. On the far right of the painting, in the distance, Judas leads a group of people who are walking toward Jesus.
It is thought that Dirck van Baburen created this copy of his original painting, that hangs in the San Pietro in Montorio church in Rome, as a replica to show to the Spanish king who commissioned the Pièta Chapel paintings. The chapel was decorated with scenes from the Passion of Christ during 1615-1620. There is a companion to the Baburen lunette painting titled, "Mocking of Christ," by David de Haen. Baburen's "Entombment," which hangs over the altar, is considered one of his best known works.
Ink sketches depict a large female profile in the upper left corner facing right, a female head in the lower center, a smaller female head in the right center facing upwards, and a smaller female profile in the left center facing downwards. There is empty space in upper right quadrant.
This sheet, cut from a larger sheet, features a study of a woman’s face in profile in the upper left. Her hair is bound. A nearly frontal view of another woman’s face is at the center bottom of the sheet. She looks down to her left and wears a jeweled headpiece or crown. Three other smaller and more lightly sketched heads also appear on the sheet, two along the left edge and one on the right.
The heads are all lightly drawn with a finesse characteristic of della Bella, one of the most talented and prolific draftsmen and printmakers of the seventeenth century.
This ink sketch on paper contains a woman in the upper center hunched over with a bundle on her back. The lower half contains two rough sketches of female figures with a sketch of an obscured female profile in between.
This sheet has drawings of four female figures. The upper half of the sheet shows a woman standing full-length in profile, facing right. She leans forward and carries a large bundle on her back. Three other women are sketched in the bottom half of the sheet. On the left is a half-length figure of a woman seen from the back wearing a dress. To the right is the head of a woman in profile wearing a headscarf. On the right is a woman, drawn to her hemline, standing in three-quarters profile facing right, wearing a heavy robe. The reverse has sketch of a young male turning to face slightly backward with left arm upraised.
Stefano della Bella was one of the most talented and prolific draftsmen and printmakers of the seventeenth century. This sheet with several small, rapidly executed sketches testifies to his practice of working directly from observation.