Ecce Homo (“behold the man”)

Glencairn Museum

Glencairn Museum
Bryn Athyn, United States

“Meaning ‘behold the man,’ the Ecce Homo comes from John 19:5, which describes Jesus’ second presentation to the mob following his scourging and mocking by Pilate’s soldiers. Christ had been dressed in a purple robe and crown of thorns by the soldiers and was brought out to the crowd. Despite its focus on a single event, this image is very similar to the icon of Extreme Humility in its frank depiction of Jesus’ dejection. The exact original context for this sculpture is not known, though its size, condition and relative portability suggests it may have been displayed inside a church or chapel. It may have played some role in the liturgy, though its weight and fragility suggest it was not carried through the space, as icons of the Extreme Humility may have been brought through the church at certain points during services. Carved almost entirely in the round, the figure is highly modeled, with detailed muscle articulation, and Christ stands in contrapposto (a pose in which the body’s weight is mostly placed on one foot), with his right shoulder raised and his left shoulder drooping despondently. Though part of the right forearm has broken off, Christ’s wrists appear to have been bound with the same kind of cords attaching the cape, a common characteristic of this image type. The imagery of the Ecce Homo gained in popularity as a freestanding work in the fifteenth century, and the detailed rendering of the figure, along with the apparent interest in naturalism, suggests a rather late medieval date for this example.” (Julia Perratore, exhibition label for _Windows into Heaven: The Icons of Susan Kelly vonMedicus_, Glencairn Museum, 2012.)

- Joan A. Holladay and Susan L. Ward, _Gothic Sculpture in America III: The Museums of New York and Pennsylvania_, 2016, 348-349.


  • Title: Ecce Homo (“behold the man”)
  • Location Created: France, Champagne (?)
  • Physical Dimensions: H. 36 1/4, W. 11, D. 8 1/2 in. (92.1 x 27.9 x 21.5 cm)
  • Medium: Stone with polychromy
  • Date: Late 15th or 16th century
  • Collection: Medieval
  • Accession Number: 09.SP.86

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