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The Flagellation or scourging of Christ was ordered by Pilate prior to the Crucifixion. The event is referred to in all four of the Gospels (Matthew 27:26; Mark 15: 15; Luke 23: 16; John 19: 1). It was later embellished by writers and artists.

Christ is usually depicted bound to a column, being beaten by soldiers with birches and whips, but sometimes a 'close-up' of Christ is represented. A later variation was to depict Christ after the Flagellation. This subject, represented in the Collection by the work of Velázquez ('Christ after the Flagellation'), was particularly popular in Italy and Spain in the 16th and 17th centuries.