This beautiful painting was donated anonymously to St. Anne’s church in 1959.
Painted by Bartolome Esteban Murillo in 1660, Ecce homo are the Latin words used by Pontius Pilate in the Gospel of John when he presents a scourged Jesus Christ, bound and crowned with thorns, to a hostile crowd shortly before his crucifixion. The translation means “behold the man”.
In 2012 the painting was loaned to the Bristol museum and art gallery.
Since the loan, the gallery had carried out some investigation into the provenance and attribution of the painting, and had also undertaken some conservation work to the painting and its frame. The painting was regarded as “a work of art of national significance” and, although its value could not be precisely quantified, it was in excess of £100,000.
The reasons given by the PCC for its decision to lend the painting to the gallery were the cold, damp climate in the church, the uncertainty as to its current value, and whether it would continue to be adequately insured under the church’s current policy, given the limited security available at the church; also, the fact that the painting could be viewed at the gallery by the public in a way in which it would not be possible if it continued to remain in the church.
A high quality copy now hangs on the wall in the church and the original painting is on display in the Bristol Museum.