Alfred Robaut dated this pastel to 1826, at about the time Delacroix was working on one of his earliest official commissions for a religious painting, The Agony in the Garden for the Church of Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis, Paris, exhibited at the Salon of 1827. A watercolour of the subject, with the figure of Christ in the same position as in the present pastel, was formerly in the collection of Madame D. David-Weill (L. Johnson, The Paintings of Eugène Delacroix, Oxford, 1981, I, p. 167).
Delacroix revisited the subject in a pastel of strikingly similar tonality and almost identical size as the present work, although with the figure of Christ lying on the ground facing right, commissioned by Madame Roché in 1847 and now in a private collection (L. Johnson, op. cit., no. 34).
This present pastel may have been one of those in a list of works entered by Delacroix in his journal on 1 April 1857, but not necessarily compiled on that date: 'Petits pastels du Christ au Jardin des Oliviers et à la colonne', Journal de Eugène Delacroix, ed. Paris, 1981, p. 656, quoted in L. Johnson, op. cit., p. 177).