National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased with funds donated by the Xavier College Arts Advisory Board from The John Kerr Tutton Trust, David Byrne, John T. (Jack) Rush QC, Barry and Margie Sweeney and an anonymous donor, 2012
14th - 16th Century Gallery - Painting & Decorative Arts Level 1, NGV International
This lifelike figure of Christ is thought to have been produced in north-east France during the fifteenth century, in a region where medieval Passion plays and commerce thrived. It depicts the ‘Ecce homo’ (Behold the Man) moment when the bound and flogged Christ was stripped and mocked by Roman soldiers for having proclaimed himself ‘King of the Jews’. Such figures were typically displayed in church niches, but in some communities they were brought out during Lent and ‘dressed’ realistically, with a living crown of thorns, actual rope binding the hands and a fresh palm frond as sceptre, and carried through the streets.