The Trial of Christ / Christ in front of the people
The Trial of Christ
The main scene on the left panel shows the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate sentencing Jesus. Pilate thought
Christ was innocent, but according to the Gospels, the High Priest Caiaphas insisted he was guilty.
It was customary at Passover to release a prisoner chosen by the people, so Pilate asked the crowd, shown
in the middle of the background, whether he should free a thief named Barabbas or Jesus. The mob shouted
for Barabbas to be saved and Jesus to be crucified. Pilate gave way but symbolically washed his hands in
public to show his refusal to be held responsible for the choice. These two events are in the left wing
of the triptych.