This folio titled ‘Prayer at Gethsemane’ is a part of the Issanama series.
The Issanama commission lies at the intersection of art and history, and offers lush evidence of the plurality and syncretism inherent in Indian culture. It’s an artistic collaboration between the founder of Sarmaya, Paul Abraham and traditional miniaturist and third-generation artist, Manish Soni of Bhilwara, Rajasthan. As such, the Issanama offers a fresh model of art patronage for the contemporary era, one in which the patron enters into an intellectual dialogue with the artist.
This painting is an interpretation of the episode where Jesus prays to his father on the night before his crucifixion. Here you can see the figure of Jesus praying with his hands clasped and sweating blood (notice the forehead). In the near background are three sleeping figures—his three apostles, John, James and Peter, who were asked to pray but fell asleep. In the distant background, across the trees, the figure of Judas leads the Roman soldiers to Jesus. In the style of the original Hamzanama folios, important figures are made larger than others, as is the case here with Jesus.