Morales was a painter with a highly individual style; his meticulous technique and the prominent echoes of the style and forms of Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael indicate the formative influence of Italianizing Flemish painters. This would seem to confirm Palomino's statement that Morales trained in Seville with the Flemish Mannerist, Peeter de Kempeneer (Pedro de Campaña), who is recorded in Spain from 1537 (see A.A. Palomino de Castro y Velasco, Museo pictórico (1712-24), III, trans. N. Alaya Mallory as Lives of the Eminent Spanish Painters and Sculptors, Cambridge, 1987, pp. 38-9). Morales' earliest dated work, the Virgin with the Little Bird now in a private collection, Madrid, is from 1546. His only signed work is the Raphaelesque Madonna of Purity in San Pietro Maggiore, Naples.
Morales's oeuvre was exclusively religious in subject matter, concentrating on the imagery of the Passion, and reflects the preferred subjects of meditation of contemporary Spanish mystics such as Saint Peter of Alcántara (1499-1562), Fray Luis de Granada (1504-1588) and Juan de Avila (1500-1569). Numerous replicas and versions of these subjects testify to their enormous popularity as images of devotion; the variation in their quality indicates the employment of a workshop.
Ecce Homo was a subject that Morales repeated several times. Those that most closely resemble the present picture are the picture in the collection of Ezequiel de Selgas, Asturias, and the central panel of the triptych of Ecce Homo with Saints in the Vda. de Bueno collection, Cadiz, although both of these show differences with this picture, notably in the positioning of the hands and stick that Christ holds (I. Bäcksbacka, Luis de Morales, Helsinki-Helsingfors, 1962, p. 177, no. 70, fig. 116, and J.A. Gaya Nuño, Madrid, Luis de Morales, Madrid, 1961, pl. 24).
The particularly high quality of this hitherto unrecorded panel, with, for example, the minute attention to detail in the rendering of the frayed ropes and bamboo stick held by Christ, confirm that it must have been painted by Morales without workshop participation.