The Man

The Man

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

Many consider Titian the greatest painter of the 16th century, perhaps even the greatest of all time. Born in 1488 in northeastern Italy, he gained fame after settling in Venice. Many of his masterpieces focused on Biblical themes.

In 1543, Titian turned his attention to the moment when Pilate presented Jesus to the crowd that was demanding His crucifixion. Like Domenico Fetis painting by the same name, this painting is also called Ecce Homo (Latin for Behold, the Man). Titian’s painting features a special focus on those in the crowd. Some of them are waving their arms. One man is listening carefully. Jesus and Pilate are standing in the upper left corner, with a Roman soldier crouching just below them. And in the center of the painting we see a young boy who is screaming.

A bearded man in the painting (possibly modeled after the patron who commissioned it) is looking at two men on horseback. One of the two horsemen is Suleiman the Magnificent, the powerful Ottoman sultan who was threatening Europe with his radical Islamic vision. The other is a Roman commander, who appears sympathetic to Christ. When one studies this painting, it becomes clear that Titian dealt with issues relevant to his time. But the painting also urges us to think about our time and our lives.

Ultimately, we all need to picture ourselves, standing in the crowd before Pilate and Jesus. We can imagine the political and social forces of our time, including the current clash of ideas and cultures.

Titian’s message is that we all need to make a decision about Jesus. Who is He to you?