Mattia Preti
Pilate Washing His Hands

Mid-17th century
Oil on canvas, 81⅛ x 72¾ in. (206.1 x 184.8 cm)
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Pilate looks directly at the viewer with a "Who you lookin’ at?" expression. The composition uses the frame in the Baroque way: on the lower right, a servant with a pitcher leans into the frame, while an old soldier leans out of it. Light/dark contrasts carry the irony of the painting: Light shines on Pilate's well-scrubbed brow and makes the whole washing easily visible, while at his feet Christ is in shadowy darkness with the soldiers who are already grabbing him to take him away to the cross.

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Photo: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York