Pontius Pilate

Roy de Maistre, Christ before Pontius Pilate, c. 1951-1968, oil on canvas on board, private collection, Melbourne.

Born in 1894 in Australia, De Maistre studied music and painting as a young man and after his WWI discharge he worked with shell-shock victims. He experimented with the psychological uses of color and his interest in combining color and sound echoed through the rest of his career. He settled in London in 1930 and after WWII he converted to Catholicism and increasingly painted religious subjects. De Maistre’s interpretation of this scene has none of the dark foreboding and evidence of violence displayed in most interpretations. The light pours in from the right and Pilate sits like an observer in a play, Jesus moving freely into the light on the stage.  

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