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Christ Before the High Priest - Dutch Golden Age Painter Gerrit (Gerhard) van Horthorst

Christ Before the High Priest - Dutch Golden Age Painter Gerrit (Gerhard) van Horthorst

When our living Lord faced the Sanhedrin there were no cameras there to record the spectacle. Thankfully talented painters like Gerrit van Horthorst have presented visions in paintings for us to imagine. Here is the beautiful Christ Before the High Priest.


What trials did Jesus face before His crucifixion?

"The night of Jesus’ arrest, He was brought before Annas, Caiaphas, and an assembly of religious leaders called the Sanhedrin (John 18:19-24; Matthew 26:57). After this He was taken before Pilate, the Roman Governor (John 18:28), sent off to Herod (Luke 23:7), and returned to Pilate (Luke 23:11-12), who finally sentenced Him to death.

There were six parts to Jesus’ trial: three stages in a religious court and three stages before a Roman court. Jesus was tried before Annas, the former high priest; Caiaphas, the current high priest; and the Sanhedrin. He was charged in these “ecclesiastical” trials with blasphemy, claiming to be the Son of God, the Messiah.

The trials before Jewish authorities, the religious trials, showed the degree to which the Jewish leaders hated Him because they carelessly disregarded many of their own laws. There were several illegalities involved in these trials from the perspective of Jewish law: (1) No trial was to be held during feast time. (2) Each member of the court was to vote individually to convict or acquit, but Jesus was convicted by acclamation. (3) If the death penalty was given, a night must pass before the sentence was carried out; however, only a few hours passed before Jesus was placed on the Cross. (4) The Jews had no authority to execute anyone. (5) No trial was to be held at night, but this trial was held before dawn. (6) The accused was to be given counsel or representation, but Jesus had none. (7) The accused was not to be asked self-incriminating questions, but Jesus was asked if He was the Christ.

The trials before the Roman authorities started with Pilate (John 18:23) after Jesus was beaten. The charges brought against Him were very different from the charges in His religious trials. He was charged with inciting people to riot, forbidding the people to pay their taxes, and claiming to be King. Pilate found no reason to kill Jesus so he sent Him to Herod (Luke 23:7). Herod had Jesus ridiculed but, wanting to avoid the political liability, sent Jesus back to Pilate (Luke 23:11–12). This was the last trial as Pilate tried to appease the animosity of the Jews by having Jesus scourged. The Roman scourge was a terrible whipping designed to remove the flesh from the back of the one being punished. In a final effort to have Jesus released, Pilate offered the prisoner Barabbas to be crucified and Jesus released, but to no avail. The crowds called for Barabbas to be released and Jesus to be crucified. Pilate granted their demand and surrendered Jesus to their will (Luke 23:25). The trials of Jesus represent the ultimate mockery of justice. Jesus, the most innocent man in the history of the world, was found guilty of crimes and sentenced to death by crucifixion." from the article: What trials did Jesus face before His crucifixion?



"Christ Before the High Priest" - Dutch Golden Age Painter Gerrit (Gerhard) van Horthorst
"Christ Before the High Priest" - Dutch Golden Age Painter Gerrit (Gerhard) van Horthorst


Gerrit van Honthorst
Gerrit van Honthorst

"Gerrit van Honthorst (1592-1656) worked in two radically different styles, which was unusual for a 17th-century painter: first creating dramatically lit works that followed in the footsteps of Michelangelo da Caravaggio, then specializing in allegorical portraiture as a court artist. After training with Abraham Bloemaert in his native Utrecht, Honthorst spent a decade in Rome, where he was patronized by the leading connoisseurs of the city. Honthorst earned the nickname “Gherardo delle Notti” (Gerard of the Nights) because of works such as A Boy Blowing on a Firebrand. The subtle differences between the light reflected off the boy’s puffed cheeks, the metal hilt of the sword, and the soft feathers reveal the artist’s sensitivity to materiality and surface. The subject’s antiquated, theatrical garb adds further character to the painting and demonstrates the impact that Honthorst’s work had upon artists like Georges de la Tour and Rembrandt van Rijn.

Honthorst left Rome to work for several years in Utrecht, before spending time at the courts in London and The Hague. During this period, he executed trompe l’oeil ceiling paintings, in which figures appear to peer down from an open sky, and elegant portraits that were often reproduced in print.

The Art Institute owns one of Honthorst’s many surviving drawings, Christ in the Garden of Olives. It is a fine example of a working drawing, meaning it was used to transfer the design to a canvas. The arched upper edge and placement of the weary Christ close to the picture plane indicate that the final painting was destined to be an altarpiece. It was almost certainly made during the artist’s Italian stay. These works by Honthorst help bridge the production of artists in Italy and those in the Netherlands within the Art Institute’s collections of 17th-century art." from Art Institute of Chicago


Paintings Gerard van Honthorst - Artworks and Sketches.

Video from BOB Art


"Gerard van Honthorst was a Dutch Golden Age painter who became known for his depiction of artificially lit scenes, eventually receiving the nickname Gherardo delle Notti . Early in his career he visited Rome, where he had great success painting in a style influenced by Caravaggio. Following his return to the Netherlands he became a leading portrait painter. Van Honthorst was born in Utrecht, the son of a decorative painter, and trained under his father, and then under Abraham Bloemaert. Italy Having completed his education, Honthorst went to Italy, where he is first recorded in 1616. He was one of the artists from Utrecht who went to Rome at around this time, all of whom were to be deeply influenced by the recent art they encountered there. They were named the Utrecht caravaggisti. The other three were Dirk van Baburen, Hendrick ter Bruggen and Jan van Bijlert. In Rome he lodged at the palace of Vincenzo Giustiniani, where he painted Christ Before the High Priest, now in London's National Gallery. Giustiniani had an important art collection, and Honthorst was especially influenced by the contemporary artists, including Caravaggio, Bartolomeo Manfredi and the Carracci." from the video introduction


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