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Christ before PilateEnlarge image

Christ before Pilate, 1512

Albrecht Dürer
German, 1471 - 1528
engraving on laid paper
11.7 x 7.4 cm
Purchased 1949
National Gallery of Canada (no. 5603)

This engraving is another example of how Dürer uses architecture to dramatic advantage. The palatial surroundings of Pontius Pilate’s judgment hall are suggested by a deep step along the bottom of the print, a column to the right, and a heavy archway with a city view beyond. It is here Christ is condemned after Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, gives in to pressure from the Jews that he be put to death. Dürer depicts Pilate in Turkish dress to identify him as an enemy of Christianity; the soldiers wear the costume of sixteenth-century Nuremberg.

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