“Ecce Homo” is an allegorical portrait of “Spain.” The title refers to the words spoken by Pontius Pilate before Jesus’ crucifixion, and refers to a devotional image picturing Christ with a crown of thorns. The assemblage of objects to form a recognizable likeness or personification was popularized by sixteenth-century Italian painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo, and caricaturists continued to employ the technique long after his death. Arcimboldo typically relied on inanimate objects such as fruit or books to express his subject’s identity. Here, the artist uses political symbols, depictions of events, maps, and allegorical figures to create a portrait and tell a forceful story of Spain’s recent history.
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