Perhaps more than that any other Spanish artist of the 16th century, alongside El Greco, Luis de Morales’s intensely spiritual and highly-refined paintings perfectly reflect the profoundly religious atmosphere that saturated Counter-Reformation Spain. The present Ecce homo, unknown to scholars until its recent reemergence in a Spanish private collection, is typical of the artist’s oeuvre, which consists almost entirely of private devotional paintings of imagery from Christ’s Passion. As objects of meditation perfectly suited to the mystical reflection championed by contemporary religious luminaries such as Saint Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582), St. Peter of Alcántara (1499-1562), and Fray Luis de Granada (1504-1588), since at least the beginning of the 18th century, Morales’s paintings earned him the epithet ‘The Divine’. As Antonio Palomino (1653-1726), Morales’s early biographer wrote, “He was given the sobriquet of El Divino, both because all his paintings were of sacred subjects, and because he made heads of Christ with hair of such great delicacy and subtlety that those with a curiosity for art are tempted to try to make it move by blowing on it, since it seems to have the same subtlety as natural hair....” (quoted in L. Ruiz Gomez, "Luis de Morales: Divine and Human," in The Divine Morales, ed. L. Ruiz Gómez, exhibition catalogue, Madrid, 2015, p. 34). Palomino writes that Morales studied in Seville with the Flemish Mannerist, Pieter de Kempeneer (Pedro de Campaña, 1503-1586); however, recent scholarship has questioned this, postulating instead that he received his training in Castile (ibid., p. 39). Morales flourished as an artist in Extremadura, where he was active for over fifty years. The paintings he produced there blend the expressive realism of 15th and 16th century Flemish masters with the innovations of High Renaissance masters such as Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael to create powerful, almost iconic images such as the present work.