Christ before the High Preist

Christ before the High Priest, Gerrit Van Honthorst, 1617

This painting shows Christ brought to the High Priest to be questioned by the Roman soldiers. The main point in the painting is the candle in the center which lights up the rest of the picture. The candle is meant to create an atmosphere of dramatic tension and veracity. Closest to the center is the Priest’s arm and upraised finger, symbolizing the accusation against Jesus and the open book on the table contains the things banned by the Mosaic Law. According to that law any false claim to be a Messiah is punishable by death. The light from the candle lights up Christ’s body rather than the Priest and people watching the questioning, symbolizing his holiness and importance, along with his truly being their Messiah. The two men behind the Priest are false witnesses speaking against him, and along with the Priest they are dimly lit, while Jesus is just radiating light everywhere.

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