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Christ Presented to the People (“The Ecce Homo”)

Rembrandt van Rijn, Dutch, 1606–1669
Made in
Amsterdam, Netherlands, Europe
Current Location
Not on view
image: 15 1/8 x 17 5/8 in. (38.4 x 44.8 cm)
plate (irregular): 15 1/8 x 17 5/8 in. (38.4 x 44.8 cm)
sheet: 15 3/8 x 17 7/8 in. (39.1 x 45.4 cm)
framed: 30 1/8 x 31 5/8 in. (76.5 x 80.3 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Shop Fund, Friends Fund, and funds given in honor of James D. Burke, Museum Director from 1980 to 1999, by Mr. and Mrs. Lester A. Crancer Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Christian B. Peper, the Ruth Peters MacCarthy Charitable Trust, an anonymous donor, Mary and Oliver Langenberg, Phoebe and Mark Weil, Sam and Marilyn Fox, The Sidney S. and Sadie Cohen Print Purchase Fund, the Julian and Hope Edison Print Fund, Margaret Grigg Oberheide, an anonymous donor, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth F. Teasdale, Mr. and Mrs. John W. Bachmann, the Anne L. Lehmann Charitable Trust, Anabeth Calkins and John Weil, Mrs. James Lee Johnson Jr., Suzanne and Jerry Sincoff, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Weiss, Mr. and Mrs. Martin E. Galt III, and Mr. and Mrs. Andrew B. Craig III
Public Domain
Object Number
Silhouetted by a dark arch, the three protagonists from the Biblical New Testament, Pontius Pilate, Christ, and Barabbas, stand on the podium before a large civic building. Pilate, wearing a turban, has already asked the crowd before him: "Which of the two do you want me to release to you?" They shout, "Barabbas!" Rembrandt captures the moment when Pilate, pointing towards Christ, asks them the next question: "What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" They all shout back, "Let Him be crucified!" Surrounded by an extraordinary architectural setting, soldiers, and the surge of the crowd below him, Christ looks helpless and isolated. This is one of Rembrandt's most celebrated prints because of its size, rarity, and complex composition. It is one of the few that Rembrandt did exclusively in drypoint, a process in which a sharp point is used to scratch a line directly into the copperplate.
by 1969 - 1985
Duke of Devonshire, Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, England [1]

In "Old Masters Prints from Chatsworth [Devonshire Collection]," Christie's, London, England, December 5, 1985, lot no. 183 [2]

- 1991
David Thomson, Toronto, Canada [3]

- 1996
Joseph R. Ritman, Amsterdam, The Netherlands [4]

by 1998 - 1999
Artemis Fine Arts, Luxembourg, and Sotheby's Asia, Inc., Bermuda [5]

1999 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Artemis Fine Arts, Luxembourg and Sotheby's Asia, Inc., Bermuda [6]

[1] The second Duke of Devonshire (1672-1793) was a major collector of master drawings, and a collection of master prints was added to the family collection before his death. This impression may have been part of that master print collection ["A Collection of Etchings by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (1606-1669) Formed by Joseph R. Ritman." Artemis and Sotheby's, cat. no. 44]. Hollstein published this impression as in the Chatsworth collection in 1969, and the print also appeared in the 1985 sale of the Duke of Devonshire's collection [Hollstein, F.W.H. "Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings, and Woodcuts. Volume 18. Rembrandt van Rijn." Compiled by Christopher White and Karel G. Boon. Amsterdam: Vangendt & Co., 1969, no. B76; "Old Master Prints from Chatsworth, Sold by the Order of the Trustees of the Chatsworth Settlement." Christie's, London, December 5, 1985].

[2] See note [1].

[3] David Thomson is the final name given in the provenance of the Ritman catalogue ["A Collection of Etchings by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (1606-1669), Formed by Joseph R. Ritman." Artemis and Sotheby's, cat. no. 44]. He is also named as a former owner in a 1998 census of impressions; however, there his place of residence is given as "USA" [Eeles, Adrian. "Rembrandt's 'Ecce Homo:' A Census of Impressions." "Print Quarterly" XV, no. 3 (1998): 290-297].

[4] Joseph R. Ritman is named as an owner in the sale catalogue "A Collection of Etchings by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (1606-1669), Formed by Joseph R. Ritman." Artemis and Sotheby's, cat. no. 44. Eeles states that his impression was in a "Dutch Renaissance Art Collection, Amsterdam" until 1996; presumably he is referring to Ritman's collection [Eeles, 293].

[5] Eeles names Artemis as the current owner in his 1998 article [Eeles, 293]. Artemis Fine Arts and Sotheby's Asia, Inc. are both named as sellers in the Ritman catalogue and in the bill of sale, dated January 13, 1999 [SLAM document files].

[6] Minutes of the Collections Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, April 14, 1999.
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