Christ before Pilate; Hans MULTSCHER; 1437; panel; Staatliche Museen, Berlin

Web Gallery of Art


Jesus' death sentence

Unerstand the scene

What you can see in this picture……

A man is standing; Jesus appears before a judge who is sitting, Pilate.
The accused is brought by some soldiers followed by a crowd. He is marked with the blows he has received. On the judge’s side, are to be found a religious leader wearing a mitre and two women, one of whom points to Jesus. She is Pilate’s wife who tells her husband that Jesus is innocent. Pilate “washes his hands of it” by using a servant’s ewer.

Jesus’ trial is a complicated affair with several sittings and comings and goings. The evangelists, whose narratives are slightly different, mention four appearances before the judge: before Anne, the High Priest who is discharged, then before his son-in-law Caiaphas, a high priest who presides over the Sanhedrin Council; this is the religious trial. Jesus is also submitted to a political trial before Herod, the kinglet of Galilee whose subject he is, and before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor.


 ...and in other pictures

The two great trials are those presided over by Caiaphas and Pilate, the latter being the most frequently represented.

Caiaphas can be recognized by his religious vestments, a large robe and a pointed hat, often a sort of mitre; he is sitting and tears off his robe at the level of his chest. This gesture is not a sign of anger but one of mourning, for what Jesus says seems to him a blasphemy.

Pilate is dressed after the Roman fashion or after the oriental manner with a sort of turban. He is sitting and questions Jesus or he is standing and presents him to the crowd. The picture often follows the text of Matthew and shows his wife who asks him to be cautious, or Pilate can be seen washing his hands. The latter scene can become the main subject, Jesus being then relegated into the background.

The biblical narrative

The Gospel according to Matthewchapters 26 and 27

And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.... Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.

  And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?  But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.

Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

 Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.

 And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest. And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.  Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.

 Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?

For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.

 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.















See similar pictures



Les évangélistes dont les récits sont  un peu différents,  parlent de quatre comparutions  : devant Anne,   grand prêtre sorti de charge , puis devant son gendre Caïphe, grand prêtre qui préside le Conseil du Sanhédrin, c’est le  procès  religieux. Jésus a aussi un procès  politique devant Hérode, roitelet de Galilée dont il est sujet, et devant Ponce  Pilate, le gouverneur romain.



Le Christ devant Anne ; Albrect DURER ; 1511 bois gravé ;  Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Harvard University Art Museums



Le Christ devant Hérode ; Simon BENING ;  C. 1525-30 tempera et or sur parchemin ; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Paul Getty trust



Le Christ devant Caïphe ; Hans HOLBEIN ; 1524-25 huile sur bois ; Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, Bâle

Web Gallery of Art



Jésus est condamné à mort; Eric GILL; 1917 impression

Tate on line



Deux procès différents devant Caïphe et devant Pilate, mais à chaque fois la relation entre le juge et le condamné est directe.



Le Christ devant le Grand prêtre ; Gerrit van HONTHORST ; C. 1617  huile sur toile ;  National Gallery, Londres

Web Gallery of Art



Quod est veritas?; GAY, Nikolay ; 1890 huile sur toile ; Galerie Tretjakov, Moscou

Olga's Gallery - Online Art Museum



Le procès devant le grand prêtre qui déchire son manteau à la hauteur de la poitrine. Ce geste n’est pas un signe de colère mais de deuil, car ce que dit Jésus lui semble être blasphématoire.



Le Christ devant Caïphe ; Albrect DURER ; 1504 dessin ; Albertina, Vienne

Web Gallery of Art



Le Christ devant Caïphe ; GIOTTO ; 1304-06 fresque ; Chapelle des Scrovegni ; Padoue

Web Gallery of Art



Duccio a représenté les quatre procès, mais de façon assez semblable. Les emblèmes du pouvoir changent, les participants aussi, mais la composition reste la même.



Le Christ devant le roi Hérode ; DUCCIO di Buoninsegna ; 1308-11 tempera sur bois ; Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Sienne

Web Gallery of Art



Le Christ devant Ponce Pilate ; DUCCIO di Buoninsegna ; 1308-11 tempera sur bois ; Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Sienne

Web Gallery of Art




L'accent est mis sur Pilate se lavant les mains. Il détourne le regard et prend à témoin le spectateur. Peut-on être bourreau et innocent ?



Le Christ devant Pilate; LE TINTORET; 1566-67  huile sur toile ; Scuola di San Rocco, Venise

Web Gallery of Art



Le Christ devant Pilate;  Nicolas MAES;  1549-50 huile sur toile ;  Musée des Beaux-arts, Budapest

Web Gallery of Art



























Commentaire de l'image Récit biblique Voir d'autres images


Further developpements

© Copyright 2005-2016 - Serge Ceruti / Mentions Légales / Site réalisé par eyenet