Head of Christ (Ecce Homo)

Petrus Christus Netherlandish

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 635

This intimate image of Christ’s head, intended for private devotion, derives from a lost picture of the Holy Face by Jan van Eyck, now known only through copies. Following the Eyckian composition, Petrus Christus treated the head like a portrait by surrounding it with a fictive frame, thereby underscoring the physical immediacy of Christ. His depiction differs from the prototype, however, in presenting Christ with furrowed brow, the crown of thorns, and drops of blood running down his forehead and onto his chest.

Head of Christ (Ecce Homo), Petrus Christus (Netherlandish, Baarle-Hertog (Baerle-Duc), active by 1444–died 1475/76 Bruges), Oil on parchment, laid down on wood

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