Christ before Pilate
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Masters of Dirc van Delf
Dutch, Utrecht, about 1405 - 1410
Gold leaf and tempera colors on parchment
6 1/2 x 4 5/8 in.
MS. 40, FOL. 42V

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The miniatures in the book of hours by the Masters of Dirc van Delf dramatically present a sequence of events from Jesus' Passion, the events leading up to the Crucifixion. Within this context, the miniature of Christ before Pilate serves as a visual focus for the prayers that follow. Pilate, the Roman prefect in Jerusalem who presided at Jesus' trial and gave the order for his Crucifixion, sits on a throne. Jesus' sad but patient expression suggests his acceptance of his fate.

This confrontation between Pilate and Christ takes place within a shallow architectural setting much like a stage, with a flat, curtainlike, gold-patterned background behind. But the shallow space cannot contain the corporeal figures, who stand in front of the miniature's frame so that the figure of Jesus is presented both to Pilate and to the viewer. The solid weight of the figures and the frame contrasts with the delicacy of the fine sprays of leaves and flowers extending from the frame.