Christ Presented to the People (Ecce Homo)

Rembrandt van Rijn

In 1653, dust from repairs to his home left Rembrandt unable to paint. He instead poured his energy into making some of his most spectacular prints, including this one. It shows the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate letting the public decide whether to grant the annual Passover pardon to Jesus or the notorious criminal Barabbas. The jeering crowd cries for Jesus’ crucifixion. Rembrandt chose to work in drypoint—directly scratching into the surface of the plate—because the method was not very sensitive to dust and because he could produce rich, velvety lines.