Ecce Homo


Giulio Cesare Procaccini ( Italian, 1574 - 1625 )

After 1615
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General Description

At the top right, Pontius Pilate looks with disdainful indifference toward the bloodied figure of Christ, who is being presented to the people of Jerusalem before his Crucifixion. This grandiose and monumental painting was probably an altarpiece for a church in Genoa. It was meant to appeal directly to the viewer’s emotions, inspiring empathy and reverence for Jesus’s suffering. The calm resignation on Christ’s face and his elegantly contorted body lit by a divine golden light stands in contrast to the agitated expressions of the other figures in the shadows. This juxtaposition suggests Christianity’s ultimate promise of eternal life after death.

Excerpt from

Julien Domercq, Label text (1969.16), 2020

Fun Facts

  • The term ecce homo (behold the man) refers to the words found in John 19 verses 4-6 where Pilate, a Roman official, spoke when he presented Jesus and Barabbas to the crowd and asked which prisoner he should pardon, a custom before the feast of Passover. The crowd chooses to pardon Barrabas and crucify Jesus.

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