DUCCIO di Buoninsegna
(b. ca. 1255, Siena, d. 1319, Siena)

Pilate's Second Interrogation of Christ (scene 15)

1308-11
Tempera on wood, 50 x 57 cm
Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Siena

The picture shows one of the 26 narrative scenes from the Stories of the Passion on the reverse side of the Maestà. It is situated in the upper row on the left side above the scene of Christ Before King Herod.

Pilate, on learning that Jesus belonged to the jurisdiction of Herod, sent the prisoner to the king to be judged by him. After questioning Jesus and treating him with ridicule and contempt, Herod sent him back to the Roman governor dressed in a conspicuous garment, the white robe that distinguished lunatics. Action proceeds from the bottom upwards; in the lower scene a servant is holding out to Christ the robe which in the upper scene he is already wearing.

Although placed in different architectural surroundings (the governor's palace present in the last compartment on the lower row appears again), the arrangement of the two scenes is almost identical, both in the distribution of the characters and in their movements. Christ, gazing with extreme sadness at the onlooker, is withdrawn in total silence. Herod anticipates and repeats (Pilate's First Interrogation of Christ) the position of Pilate where the solemn movement gives a rather static effect. The king's throne with steps, its basic structure embellished and adorned, is more ornate than the governor's simple wooden seat.