Who Is This Jesus of Nazareth?

Ecce Homo by Titian - partial view

Brian Prugh reflects on Titian’s Ecce Homo (“Behold, the man”) in a Dappled Things post that gives much to contemplate this Holy Week. The painting depicts Pilate showing Christ to the crowd.

This is his public display, and our chance to confront the question, who is this Jesus of Nazareth?

The soldiers have done their best to humiliate him with the crown of thorns, purple sheet and broken-stick scepter. His beard is unkempt, his gaze distracted. Next to the extremely well-dressed Pilate and his equally dapper page, he should be an embarrassment, like a half-naked drunk crashing a formal party. But for some reason, the figure of Christ doesn’t read that way: he looks noble, real, solid. In fact, he seems more real than anything around him. This is the mystery of the painting: there is something about the vision created by this painting that sets Christ apart. When I first saw it, I had the sense that I was seeing, through the body of Christ, into the heart of the heart of reality, the really real world that sits behind the flashy appearances of this one. Returning to have another look, I wanted to figure out why.

Prugh walks readers through the details of the painting to reach a conclusion about the work’s powerful message. Read the full post, “Looking For the Really Real in Titian’s Ecce Homo.”

For more reflections on art to accompany you this Holy Week, see our Arts & Faith: Lent series.

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