'Christ before the High Priest' by Gerrit van Honthorst

27/03/2013 12:59 pm

Christ Before the High Priest

Gerrit van Honthorst 1617

Theme: ‘Where do you stand?’

Gerrit van Honthorst’s painting, Christ before the High Priest, 1617, is a dramatic presentation of a pivotal moment in Jesus’ mission. Fr James Hanvey SJ highlights how the interplay of light and dark colour invites us all to reflect on which side of the table we stand.

He says:

"It’s an extraordinary confrontation. The candle, the light, divides the world, divides humanity because of whose side do we stand. What we see is that Christ stands utterly still, the light is wonderfully reflected in his white garment. We also see Caiaphas and before him is the book, so he’s sitting and he has all the authority and the weight, if you like. In one sense it’s a very clever picture because the weight is on his side, whereas the light, because it’s reflected in Christ’s garment is on Christ’s side… whenever Christ comes in to the world we have a decision to make - where do we stand, on which side of this table, on which side of the light do we stand? That’s a question that is put to us all everyday of our lives.”

You can find out more about the painting by visiting the Tate Gallery's excellent website.


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Duration: 4m 33s


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'Christ before the High Priest'

Fr James Hanvey SJ looks at Gerrit van Honthorst's painting 'Christ before the High Priest' from 1617.   6-hanvey-christ-before-high-priest.mp3 6.34 MB