This article examines the shifting iconographical meaning and purpose of the Latin phrase ecce homo in the visual art of the later Middle Ages. As told in John 19:4–5, ecce homo was the terse two-word phrase exclaimed by Pontius Pilate as he presented Christ to the people of Jerusalem: “Behold, [the] man!” Beginning in northern Europe in the fifteenth century, it became common for artists to incorporate inscriptions reading ecce homo directly within depictions of this scene, first in narrative-images and, eventually, in stand-alone devotional-pictures, or Andachtsbilder. Often represented on speech scrolls, at first these inscriptions served as a means to visualize Pilate’s climactic line. In and around the 1460s, however, ecce homo became unmoored from its initial purpose. What originally had a precise narrative function was adapted to become a message designed for the viewer, a name for the manifestation of Christ represented in the image, and a formal title for the image itself. This unmooring happened in conjunction with a shift in the function of the figure within the image and the adaptation of this figure into an en buste portrait. Research presented in this article, which is the first study of these inscriptions, affords new insight into the typological relationship linking narrative-images and icons. The article challenges the “evolutionary” model of typological development established by Erwin Panofsky and Sixten Ringbom, who used the figure of Christ Ecce Homo as a case study for investigation into the pictorial forms of devotional-images in late medieval and renaissance art.