The Passion of Christ

Ecce Homo

  Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him.  Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! John 19 v 4/5  

   Some artists, particularly Northern renaissance ones, presented this episode simply as another stage of the Passion narrative. The unknown Flemish painter certainly went to town on the architecture - as was often the case with Flemish painting, the central event is not immediately obvious, but there is plenty to look at - a busy market, and what appears to be a punch-up in the foreground. 
  Bosch's two version are typically quirky.

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt

Museum of Art, Philadelphia

   Titian's painting from around 1543 (below left) continues the narrative approach, but Tintoretto's version from twenty-five or so years later focuses far more on the suffering figure of Christ. 

Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice

  As I suggested when discussing the preceding events of the mockery and crowning with thorns, as time passed there was a need for less narrative, and for more devotional images. These dispensed with the crowds and focussed simply on the suffering Christ - behold the man, not everyone else.  Interestingly, one of the (in my view) finest examples of this preceded Titian and Tintoretto  - this is the painting by Mantegna (below left) from around 1506. Admittedly there are a couple of other heads there, but the focus is on Christ himself. the other painting is by Guido Reni. Verging on sentimentality? I'll leave you to decide.

Louvre, Paris

Finally, a highly regarded late nineteenth century version by Anotnio Ciseri in the Pitti Palace in Florence. A daringly unusual angle - but what is Trajan's column doing in Jerusalem?

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