Pontius Pilate presents Christ as a prisoner to the crowd, offering to free him. St Matthew’s Gospel recounts how the people chose to release Barabbas (a murderer), thereby ensuring Christ’s crucifixion. The impact of Rembrandt’s moving interpretation of the scene was made more immediate through the dramatic architectural setting and the emotional reactions of the assorted onlookers. Rembrandt was a gifted etcher sensitive to the descriptive power of line from delicate contours to deep shadow. He often reworked his designs, adding detail to the copper plate in drypoint. This print is in its fifth state; in other words the composition has been adapted five times by the artist.