Titian (Tiziano Vecellio), ‘Ecce Homo’, 1558-1560.

Titian (c.1488-1576)

Ecce Homo, 1558-1560

Oil on canvas, 73.4 x 56 cm
Purchased, 1885

The episode of the Ecce Homo is one of the most moving moments of Christ's Passion. Having been repeatedly flagellated and ridiculed with a crown of thorns, Jesus was presented by Pilate for the verdict of the Jewish people. The image of Christ offered by Titian in this picture is particularly moving. The Saviour appears powerless, in tears, and his tortured body is covered in blood. It is an image of real physical suffering, but it is also one of great spirituality. The painting was carried out rapidly with fast dabs of paint. The speed of execution is evident in the number of visible readjustments, such as the repositioning of the sceptre.

In the earlier part of his career Titian had collaborated with Giorgione in Venice. Soon, however, he was fully independent and was recognised as the most talented artist in that city. His fame led him to become the favourite painter of the leading Italian families, as well as of Pope Paul III and of the Emperors Charles V and Philip II.

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