Ecce Homo

Image credit: The Henry Barber Trust, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham

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Christ, crowned with thorns, is clothed in a robe of imperial purple in mockery of his description as the King of the Jews. Van Dyck shows Christ as the Man of Sorrows, with a single tear running down his face – an image of profound sadness and humility. The format, with Christ’s body shown close up, confronts us with his human suffering. The title, 'Ecce Homo', means 'behold the man' – the words Pilate used to present Christ to the people before his crucifixion. The great Flemish artist Van Dyck painted this work in Genoa during his stay in Italy from 1621 to 1627 for the noble Balbi family.

Ecce Homo




oil on canvas


H 101.5 x W 78.7 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased, 1954

Work type



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Normally on display at

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts

University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, West Midlands B15 2TS England

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