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Seddon and his friend Holman Hunt journeyed to the Holy Land in 1854, to bring greater authenticity, spiritual and topographical, to their religious works. This view, painted south of Jerusalem, shows the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane, the site of Christ’s anguish before the Crucifixion. The valley of Jehoshaphat was also believed to be where the Last Judgement would take place. Unlike John Martin’s apocalyptic visions, displayed nearby, Seddon represents the site in painstaking, sun-lit detail, paralleling the art critic John Ruskin’s remarks that ‘in following the steps of nature’, artists were ‘tracing the finger of God.’

March 2010