bound standing Christ at center standing on raised platform with two dark arches below; Christ is accompanied by sanding soldiers and other figures; onlookers at left and right below platform; figures in windows in upper quadrants

Christ Presented to the People (Ecce Homo), 1655

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The Driscoll Art Accessions Endowment Fundexpand_more  2012.92.1

In 1654, Rembrandt and his mistress Hendrickje Stoffels fell into disgrace when she became pregnant. After church officials subjected her to harsh and unfair judgment, Rembrandt returned to work on the copper printing plate of his drypoint tour de force Ecce Homo, literally “Behold the Man,” the phrase spoken by Pontius Pilate when presenting Christ to the crowd for judgment. Using a scraper, he set about the onerous task of effacing the crowd scene that had animated the foreground. He also retouched many of the figures remaining in the image, most tellingly that of Christ, whom he transformed from the apparition of the Holy Ghost into sinew and bone, a very physical man. He replaced the ground upon which the crowd had stood with a pit, a bottomless opening leading to hell. Now we stand on one side, Christ on the other, and we viewers become the crowd that must answer Pilate’s entreaty to choose between Christ and Barrabas. Rembrandt’s highly structured composition imparts a sense of inevitability to the decision. The artist’s sorrow for all involved seems to be reflected in his inclusion of a melancholic river god who mourns the event.

Exhibitions
Details
Title
Christ Presented to the People (Ecce Homo)
Artist Life
1606–1669
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2012.92.1
Provenance
The Albertina, Lugt 5d, Vienna; deaccessioned. (Colnaghi, London; their stock no. C. 3680). (Knoedler, N.Y.; their stock no. MK 43715). Richard H. Zinser (about 1883-1983), Forest Hills, N.Y.; thence by descent (until 2006); Shawn Merriman, Denver, 2006-09; seized by United States Federal Marshals, 2009; sale, Gaston & Sheehan, Pflugerville, Tex., online auction concluded July 2, 2012, no. 54; (C.G. Boerner, New York, 2012; sold to MIA)
Catalogue Raisonne
Bartsch 76, White/Boon 76 viii/viii
Curator Approved

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bound standing Christ at center standing on raised platform with two dark arches below; Christ is accompanied by sanding soldiers and other figures; onlookers at left and right below platform; figures in windows in upper quadrants