It’s just fascinating to see how the lives of Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ, and all the saints have inspired artists for centuries. If you have ever been to a museum of Christian art, you’ll agree how exciting it is to stand in front of these masterpieces that we normally get to see in pictures, books, films, and other media. Aficionados have been reported to simply stare at these timeless works of art for hours. But Christian paintings are more than art as you can often visualize the teachings of Jesus through these paintings.
Here are some of the most famous Christian paintings that have mesmerized art lovers and the general public for centuries.
1. Wedding at Cana, Paolo Veronese
Image Credit: Art and the Bible
Also known as The Wedding Feast at Cana, this piece of early Christian art is oil on canvas by Paolo Veronese, painted in 1563 for the San Giorgio Maggiore Benedectine Monastery, Venice. The painting depicts the biblical Wedding Feast at Cana, where Jesus is said to have performed the miracle of turning water into wine, according to the New Testament. The story is set during Veronese’s time though some figures are seen wearing antique clothes. The 666cm x 990cm painting is displayed at the Louvre, Paris.
2. The School of Athens, Raphael
Image Credit: Jackiewhiting
It’s one of the frescoes by Raphael in Apostolic Palace, Vatican, painted by the Renaissance artist between 1509-1511. The painting reveals Raphael’s interpretation of philosophy as divine knowledge with Aristotle and Plato at the center of the painting, along with 19 other Greek philosophers. While the painting has no religious character, its location inside a Greek cross-shaped Vatican building, has been interpreted by experts as an attempt to reconcile pagan philosophy and Christianity.
3. The Last Supper, Leonardo da Vinci
Image Credit: Pinterest
Perhaps the most famous Christian art ever, the mural in the dining hall of the Santa Maria delle Grazie Dominican convent, was painted between 1495 to 1498. Experimental pigments were used directly on the dry wall. It suffered some damage with paint flaking of the wall. Though da Vinci repaired it, the damage worsened over time, courtesy events like target practice on the wall by Napoleon’s troops. World War II bombings destroyed the roof of the room and the painting was exposed to weather elements. Much of the original art was destroyed over time. What we get to see today are mostly repairs.
4. Christ Crucified, Diego Velázquez
Image Credit: Museum Syndicate
It’s a serene representation of Jesus after crucifixion by the artist from Sevilla. Measuring 249cm x 170cm, Christ Crucified is a lesser known Christian art masterpiece. The painting depicts Christ on the cross with classical body, representing a perfect man. Blood is dripping from its wounds, and the wood. The painting emanates a feeling of silence, solitude, and rest, rather the agony of the man’s passion. It’s one of the most religious Christian painting which invites silence and meditation.
Also Read: 15 Magnificent Renaissance Paintings
5. Descent from the Cross, Roger van der Weyden
Image Credit: The Alchemist’s Pillow
An early Flemish painting, Descent from the Cross is famous for its almost life-size depiction of the figures. The 219.71cm x 261.62cm triptych is located at the Museo del Prado, Madrid. The artwork depicts the grief of Virgin Mary following the crucifixion of her son. Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, and another man, are holding up Jesus’ body. Mary has fainted. She is held by Saint John and other holy women who were witness to the crucifixion.