Skip to main content
Pilate and the Chief Priests
Gerard David

Pontius Pilate, the Roman ruler who has condemned Christ to be crucified, sits on a white horse, evidently overseeing the process of nailing Christ to the cross. The horsemen advancing up the hill on the left of the central panel are probably part of Pilate’s retinue.

Key facts
Artist Gerard David
Artist dates active 1484; died 1523
Full title Pilate and the Chief Priests
Series Triptych: Christ nailed to the Cross
Date made 1480-5
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 45 × 42.5 cm
Acquisition credit On loan from the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA)
Inventory number L1225
Location in Gallery Room 5
Why can't I download this image?

The National Gallery has endeavoured to make as many images of the collection as possible available for non-commercial use. However, an image of this painting is not available to download. This may be due to third party copyright restrictions.

If you require a license for commercial use of this image, please use the National Gallery Company's Online Picture Library or contact them using the following:

Triptych: Christ nailed to the Cross


This painting was once the centre of a triptych (a painting in three parts), and was originally flanked by Pilate and the Chief Priests on the left and The Virgin, Saint John the Evangelist and the Three Marys on the right (both now owned by the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp). Together the three panels make sense as a Crucifixion scene, as they include all the characters you would normally find in one.

We don't know when the wings were separated from the central panel. This is one of David’s earliest surviving works, and was probably painted in or after 1491.