Picture of Jesus - Images from the New Testament
Portraying the Christ is a collection of some of the most beautiful classical art, pictures and other images inspired by the New Testament. To head straight for the picture galleries, use the timeline in the Main Menu. More will be added continuously. 

The Universal Picture of Jesus

Jesus of Nazareth is undoubtedly the person who has been portrayed the most times in pictures and paintings in the last two thousand years. Considering the multitude of different artist from various cultures and forks of Christianity who have painted Jesus Christ, it is strikingly similar how the picture of Him has looked throughout the last millennium. Besides artwork depicting Jesus as an infant and through His adolescence, we are more often than not met by the picture of a bearded man in his early middle years with long brown or black hair.


Where this universal picture of Jesus derives from originally is hard to tell, but it is believed that the bearded Jesus was introduced by eastern Christianity somewhere in the 6th century. There is no detailed description of what Christ looked like in the Gospels, but based on the cultural context and the part of the world in which Jesus lived and worked, the dark hair and beard could very well be an accurate depiction. 

Depicting God

In spite of the aforementioned similarities, there are of course also differences in how Christ has been portrayed depending on specific periods in history, the artists belonging to a certain Christian movement or ethnic group, and the artist’s personal interpretation of what Jesus would look like. For example, western Christians typically depict Him as fair skinned, while He was in fact born in the middle east. Some particularly trend-setting works of art have also inspired later, modern artists and their way of portraying events from the Bible; one such example could be the Renaissance masterpiece the "Last Supper" by Leonardo Da Vinci.



This and many other amazing paintings have helped shape contemporary art and the present way we picture Jesus by providing mental images – either of a suffering Christ on the cross, donning the crown of thorns, a Jesus performing miracles, or establishing Christian institutions - such as communion in the Last Supper with his disciples. Viewed in that context, there is very much a canonical element in Biblical art that has followed both society and church for hundreds of years.

Historical Records and Early Art

Looking back towards the cradle of Christianity, there are no portraits or detailed descriptions of Jesus’ appearance – at least none that aren’t contradicted or uncontroversial. Actually scholars believe that early Christians refrained from portraying the face of Jesus - looking on the face of God, or God’s human form in Jesus Christ was likely unthinkable in the early stages of Christianity.

When the turning point in Christianity that allowed and accepted images of Jesus came to pass is unclear, but today you are greeted by the face of Jesus not only in churches but during everyday life in many forms. Classical as well as modern interpretations of events from the New Testament carry both the message and a common denominator - that universal image of Jesus.

The Shroud of Turin - the Genuine Article? 

The Shroud of Turin - kept in a Cathedral in Turin, Italy is a linen cloth which is believed by many to show the actual face of Christ. Needless to say, it's disputed whether the Turin Shroud is genuine; radiocarbon dating has shown that the shroud was made in the middle ages, some 1300 years too late. Others have questioned the validity of the test, pointing out that the cloth sample used in the dating process may have been tainted by a fire or part of later repairs to the shroud. Regardless,the cloth means a great deal to many and it is very much in line with the way Jesus has been portrayed in the past millennium. 

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