Sunday, 1 February 2009

Titian's Ecce Homo!*

Hunc tu Romane caveto° might well be the words we can imagine escaping from Emperor Charles V's lips as he sits, time-travelled over 1500 years backwards, astride his trusty mount, to the Holy Land. The emperor's noble form is clad in a fine suit of shiny black armour; only his handsome rugged features and his red beard exposed.
A royal Habsburgian arm is outstretched; and the royal index-finger points to Pontius Pilatus and his strange companion; a semi-naked, bloodstained, bedraggled man, exhausted and in pain, supported from behind by the arms of a court official.
Ecce homo! Pontius Pilatus calls out, and the people roar and raise their arms in jubilation and mockery. No, they will not have this dangerous King of the Jews set free. "Crucify him!" the common call goes up.
An unknown Roman soldier, with his back to the viewer, may be about to sink to his knees. He clutches a large Habsburg shield with its double-headed eagle emblem, the logo of Charles V's Imperial Court. Sitting on a low step in the bottom left corner, directly below the figure of Jesus Christ, is the only person shocked by the whole grim and dreadful business, a boy with a pet dog. He cries out, but we know not what he cries; a fearful expression is on his face.

*behold the man
°Roman, beware of that man

My dog wants to kiss
my face
and lick my mouth
for yes he loves me.

But this man above me
this Jewish king
the people love him not
they will not try to kiss him.

Perhaps if they let him
come to me
my dog would kiss him
lick his bloodied face
and show him love.

Titian's Ecce Homo is on display in the Kunsth. Mus. Vienna

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.