Christ Before the High Priest

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Matthias Stom[er] (Dutch, ca. 1600–after 1652)
Christ Before the High Priest, ca. 1633
Oil on canvas
56 × 72 3/4 in. (142.24 × 184.79 cm)
Purchase, Friends of Art, Myron and Elizabeth P. Laskin Fund, and Marjorie Tiefenthaler Bequest M2000.6
Photo credit: Larry Sanders
Not Currently on View

During the early 17th century, a number of Northern European artists were influenced by the innovative realism of the Italian proto-Baroque painter Caravaggio. Among these Caravaggesque painters was the Dutch artist Matthias Stom, who worked briefly in Rome and then in Naples. Dramatically lit night-time scenes such as this depiction of Caiaphas accusing Christ of blasphemy became Stom’s specialty. The beautifully staged confrontation contrasts the theatrically gesturing priest with a serene Christ bathed in light and seeming to be an altogether different order of being from the coarse false witnesses behind him. Positioning the three-quarter-length figures close to the picture plane creates a composition that engages the viewer with its immediacy and emphasizes the powerful moment in which Christ refuses to deny that he is the Son of God. The painting may have formed part of the Passion series for the Capuchin Church of St. Efremo in Naples.

This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.