Jesus Before the High Priest

Gerrit van Honthorst

Here is another of my all time favourites: when I was still in my teens, too long ago to remember I took myself to the National Gallery, in Trafalgar Square and I remember standing in front of this painting transfixed. Something about the look on the face of Jesus caught my attention and held me for minutes on end, without moving; it was the sublime look of understanding and patience on his face; the knowledge that all this was a foregone conclusion and had to be seen through to the end. And isn't the almost photographic effect of the candle-light incredible? Not having had an "introduction" or "education" in art - I was technologically inclined - I had to find my own way and van Honthorst's "Jesus Before the High Priest" was one of the first works in those far-off days that caught my attention, taught the beginnings of art appreciation and that the world of art had something to offer me. Since then other works, other artists, other Masters have joined the list and elicited emotions and appreciation perhaps out-distancing those early feelings but - if only from a sense of nostalgia - I can still look at this work and feel the same emotions that I felt nearly fifty years ago - as indeed I do every year when I visit London. Enjoy it with me.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: It goes without saying that I am deeply grateful to The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London, for their warm hospitality and kindness in allowing me free access to their site for this purpose.

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