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Title: Ecce Homo
Author: Barry, James (Irish painter, printmaker, and lithographer, 1741-1806, active in England)
Issue Date: 1983
Publisher: The Tate Gallery
Citation: William L. Pressly, 'James Barry: Artist as Hero', London: The Tate Gallery, 1983, p 63-4, no 12
Description: 'In 1773 the dean and chapter of St Paul's Cathedral approved a plan, which had originated with Barry, designating six Royal Academicians to decorate St Paul's with Biblical pictures approximately fifteen to twenty feet in height. The project never materialised as it was eventually vetoed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London. Barry's contribution was to have been 'The Jews Rejecting Christ when Pilate Entreats his Release', for which this drawing is a preparatory study. Traditionally, this often painted moment in the Passion is entitled 'Ecce Homo' (Behold the Man), which are the words spoken by Pilate when Christ is brought before the people. The drawing shows Christ bound by the wrists wearing the crown of thorns with Pilate at his side. Behind him stands the criminal Barabbas, whom the people call on Pilate to release in Christ's stead. It is probably the High Priest Caiaphas who is shown at Pilate's feet stirring up the crowd. Barry's conception with its willowy figures and receding architecture is based on Tintoretto's 'Christ before Pilate', but his rendering is so highly classicized that the subject matter was at one time identified as 'The Old Horatius Presenting his Son to the People to Save him from the Lictors'. The first of the large classical buildings in the background resembles the Pantheon, while the obelisks offer more of a reminder of Pope Sixtus V's Rome than they do of ancient Jerusalem. For Barry, the classical and Biblical worlds were never far apart: both were exemplars of a heroic antiquity embodying universal truths.' (Pressly, 63-4)
Role: artist
Culture: Irish
Dimensions/Extent: 44.5 cm x 26.1 cm
Period: 18th century
Work: drawing
Appears in Collections:TRIARC - Crookshank-Glin Collection (Digital Image Collection)

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