While Christ sits humbly on a platform, wearing the punishing crown of thorns and a borrowed robe, a soldier mocks him by kneeling in salute, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" Other soldiers look on, more concerned with their own conversation, perhaps deciding how to orchestrate Christ's imminent crucifixion.
A pupil of Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn first outlined this composition in a pale ink, then went over it in a darker ink to correct and emphasize parts of the group on the left. Although Mark's Gospel set the scene in the courtyard of the governor's headquarters, the artist purposefully left much of the page blank, isolating the figures in a void and forcing the psychological meaning and dramatic interplay among the participants to dominate. The large group at the left sets apart, both emotionally and in space, the resigned Christ and the soldier who taunts him.