As his career took off, Rembrandt strove to compete directly with the most famous artist of his time, Peter Paul Rubens. With Christ before Pilate, Rembrandt emulated Rubens’s style with an energetic Baroque design overflowing with cascading figures. This scene depicts a great wave of humanity with Jesus at its apex. The crowd urges Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, to judge whether Jesus should be condemned to death.
Johannes van Vliet, Dutch, c. 1600/10–1668, and Rembrandt, Christ before Pilate, 1635–36, etching and engraving. The William M. Ladd Collection, gift of Herschel V. Jones, 1916 P.1,261
Lucas Vorsterman after Peter Paul Rubens, The Adoration of the Magi, 1620, engraving. The National Gallery of Art, DC.