Grace Point Church


STORY: The Gallery at Grace Point

1201 NE McCollum Drive, Bentonville, Arkansas  72712


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Sunday, 8:30am to 12:15pm
Monday-Tuesday, 8:30am to 4:30pm
Wednesday-Thursday, 8:30am to 8:00pm
Or by appointment

ECCE HOMO: BEHOLD THE MAN – Images of Christ dating from 17th Century to contemporary works – opens Sunday, February 25, 8:30am–12:15pm at the Story Gallery, Grace Point Church. Extraordinary works from the Bowden Collection, including artists such as Jacques Callot, Goerges Rouault, Max Beckman, Schmidt-Rotluff, otto Dix, Odilon Redon, Bruce Herman, and Tyrus Clutter. The collection places the viewer at the scene where Jesus was condemned by the crowd as described in Matthew 27.

Through April 15
1201 NE McCollum Dr
Bentonville, Arkansas
Sundays, 8:30am–12:15pm
M–T: 8:30am–5:00pm
W-Th: 8:30am–8:00pm
Or by appointment for special group showings

Ecce homo is Latin for “behold the man.” This declaration refers to the presentation of Christ by the Roman ruler, Pontius Pilate, before the Jewish mob as described in John 19. Jesus, who had been falsely accused by the high priests and elders, was beaten, mockingly dressed as a king with both a crown of thorns and a purple robe, and then presented to the mob. “When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”

“But Pilate answered, ‘You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.’” Pilate, whether from fear or self-preservation, declared that although he found no basis for the death of Jesus, he would hand him over to be crucified. Max Beckmann’s Ecce Homo captures an intense moment when Pilate, portrayed as an evil character with an extended jaw and bald head, speaks to Jesus. We can only imagine the conversation.

The earliest depictions of the Ecce Homo scene appear in the ninth and tenth centuries in the Syrian-Byzantine art. Many high-ranking Jewish officials attended the questioning of Jesus, but to remain ceremonially clean, they did not wish to enter the house of the Roman ruler. Therefore, historians believe Pilate had to bring Jesus outside of his house to present him to the crowd. The early Syrian-Byzantine artists often pictured Jesus, crowned in thorns and wearing a purple robe outside of Pilate’s palace. Bonfils’ photograph,  Ecce Homo, provides the physical setting on the Jerusalem street where this took place over 2000 years ago just inside the St. Stephen’s Gate.

Two pieces in this show by Jacques Callot and Cornelius Cort show Christ being presented by Pilate to the crowd of people in the street. Otto Dix’s Ecce Homo imagines the crowd seething with anger, pointing fingers and taunting Jesus.

In contrast to these early Christian artists who depicted the presentation in its entirety, many 15th century artists began to portray a wounded Jesus alone with a focus on the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Historians surmise that this image, although preceding the actual ecce homo scene, became almost a symbolic remembrance of the event. This idea developed around 1400 in Burgundy and then spread in popularity to Northern Europe.

In the tradition of their predecessors the 20th century French artists, Michel Ciry and Georges Rouault, portray Christ bare-chested with a robe slung over his shoulders. Christ was crowned with thorns and clothed with a purple robe in a defiant and hostile way.

Bruce Herman’s O Sacred Head shows the jarring and ironic coronation as almost too difficult to comprehend. Jesus accepts the crown, for he is the one true ultimate King and should rightfully be crowned, but this is a crown of thorns symbolizing that Jesus took on the sins of the world. He wears the purple robe and is clothed as royalty, but he also walked to Calvary with the bloody scourged back. The motif of the lone suffering Christ enables the viewer to identify personally with the events of the Passion.

Ecce Homo, Michele Ciry


Ecce Homo: Behold the Man: images of Christ dating from the early 17th century to contemporary works
February 25–April 15, 2018

Dick Davison: Drawings and Paintings
April 22–June 10, 2018

The Photography of Susannah Scott
June 17–August 12, 2018

Our Story Art Camp
July 23–27


THE STORY GALLERY was mentioned in an article published in the September, 2017 edition of the AFA Journal: CLICK HERE to read.

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