So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe.
Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!”
— John 19:5 (ESV)
In John 19, the Roman ruler, Pontius Pilate, brings Jesus out before the crowd and says, “Behold the man!” This moment, later translated into the Latin phrase “Ecce Homo,” has since been visualized by hundreds of artists, each bringing their own perspective to the suffering of Jesus during his trial, crucifixion, and death.
This Easter season, see this moment in Jesus’s life through the eyes of 21 artists in our exhibit, Ecce Homo: Behold the Man. Explore the work of these artists, spanning five centuries and multiple genres and media, as they show their unique interpretation of the concept of suffering.
The earliest depictions of the scene appear in the ninth and tenth centuries by Syrian-Byzantine artists, who often pictured Jesus surrounded by people outside Pontius Pilate’s palace, crowned in thorns, and wearing a purple robe as described in the Bible. But by the fifteenth century, this image had changed to focus on the wounded figure of Jesus, becoming a symbolic remembrance of the event rather than a realistic depiction of the biblical scene. By the twentieth century, this image had zoomed in further, to the raw expression on the face of Jesus, punctuated with harsh lines, tight frames, and dynamic color palettes.
These approaches to the passion, by multiple artists from the 1500s to 2010, will allow guests to connect with the Easter story in a new and unique way.
The artwork in the exhibition is on loan from the Bowden Collections, a private collection by Sandra Bowden, founder of CIVA, Christians in the Visual Arts, and former board member for MoBiA, Museum of Biblical Art.
Open: February 14 – May 15, 2024
Location: Floor 5
Cost: Included with general admission
Click below for details of the exhibit opening event on February 13.