House of Caiaphas

The chapel, made up of two rooms, contains two terracotta groups depicting Jesus before Caiaphas and the Mocking of Christ, respectively. In these scenes, scholars have found the hand of both Benedetto Buglioni and Agnolo di Polo. In the first scene, Jesus has just declared that he is the son of God, before the great council of the Sanhedrin, and the high priest Caiaphas responds to this statement, which he considers blasphemy, by tearing his robe. In the second, Jesus is mocked by Caiaphas’ servants.

Aesthetically and figuratively, a strong contrast can be seen between the good character, Jesus, whose pose emanates dignified resignation, and the bad characters, the servants, who are represented as grotesque demons, with uncouth and almost swollen faces. One of the characters in the scene of the Mocking of Christ makes the so-called “fig” sign with his hand, a vulgar gesture that was very common in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and also mentioned by Dante (Inferno XXV, 2).

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