Saturday 31 October 2015

Depictions of Jesus - which do you think is the best?

I think we can agree that most visual depictions of Jesus are so bad as to be counterproductive.

But, which one (or more) visual depiction of Jesus do you find the most convincing and realistic?

With links please...

Here is my most convincing portrait - Prince of Peace by Akiane (apparently done when she was 8 years old)
But for me the best 'depiction' of Jesus - by far - is the series of videos (see link on the sidebar to the left) of the life of Christ, and the actor John Foss:


Leo said...

Great post, as usual. I love biblical art, yet I have come to realize that all biblical art is in its own way inaccurate and misleading, while still conveying great and precious truths.

I am quite moved by "Agony in the Garden" by Franz Schwartz:

I am not into winged angels, and I know this is not a photograph of what actually happened, yet the painting speaks to me and is my current favourite. Other paintings I wish were all the walls of my flat follow and are easily found on Google.

I prefer the London Supper at Emmaus by Caravaggio to the Milan version, even though it is not a conventional image, many people don't like it, and, again, is not a photograph. The does convey, however, that startling and dramatic moment.

I am not into crucifixion paintings, but I am touched by Zubaran's painting that hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago. To me it is the visual counterpart to the Bach Passions.

And I an partial to Pieter Bruegels' grisaile of the Woman Taken in Adultery. Jesus also appears in Bruegel's The Sower, but is so small in the painting. God is literally in the details of Bruegel's works.

So many paintings depicting Jesus, all different, each with its own message.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Rembrandt's "Head of Christ"

Odin's Raven said...

How about this one? It impressed me. Its not insipid.
Christ Pantocrator at Daphni

Noel said...

Wade McKenzie said...

Bruce, here's my favorite depiction. It's remarkably similar to the "Prince of Peace" by Akiane.

Bruce Charlton said...

Thanks for the contributions so far - some were certainly new to me. It seems that my own understanding is related to the eyes, and to an expression of strength and wisdom - rather than, for example, compassion and suffering. It's not that I don't think Jesus was compassionate or did not suffer! but I suppose that would not be what most struck people about his appearance.

He seemed to affect people (including his enemies) as being extraordinarily impressive, but in a completely unassertive way - so I think it would have been in the eyes.

I think he would have been seen as The Master to anyone who looked into his eyes (btw. I associate the title The Master with the usage of President Thomas S Monson).

I have been extremely fortunate to experience a completely convincing lucid dream vision of being in the presence of Jesus - and although I do not have a strong visual memory of his appearance, it was something like the pictures I posted.

Leo said...


The LDS videos work for me, powerfully. Yes, the still photo is beautiful, but it works for me particularly because the whole series does a great job of portraying the life of Christ.

Don said...

William Bouguereau is my favorite of any subject. I don't know if he has done an adult Jesus not suffering. My favorite painting was hiw Pieta of Mary holding Jesus.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Don - For some reason I have never come across Bouguereau - but am delighted to have done to thanks to this recommendation. He seems just the kind of painter I enjoy.

But his depictions of the sufferings of Christ obviously are of a different type than those I am most compelled by - a very archetypal Roman Catholic focus.

Bruce B. said...

I can’t cite a specific artist, but my favorite images of Jesus were always those that depict him as having gracile features, brown hair and kind eyes.

As my view of Christianity has evolved, I have come to embrace the typically Catholic depictions of Christ’s agony. This is because I see participation in Christ’s divinity through suffering as a critical part of Christianity. This cross (you might have to scroll down) is from my ancestral Church. Some who do not share my view will probably find it hideous.

Alex said...

Ariel Agemian, 1935:

Believed to be by a pupil of Dürer: