Depiction of the Christ in the Art

Document Type : Original Article


1 Faculty of Tourism & Hotels University of Alexandria Egypt

2 Alexandria University Faculty of Tourism and hotels Egypt


No one knows exactly what Jesus looked like, and there are no known images of him from his lifetime. Canonical Gospels do not illustrate what Jesus looked like. And, in a time long before photography was invented, the art of depiction was a more costly one.
Despite scant references to Jesus’ appearances, discussion and controversy has rolled on for centuries about what he looked like.
The earliest images of Jesus Christ emerged in the first through third centuries A.D., amidst concerns about idolatry. They were less about capturing the actual appearance of Christ than about clarifying his role as a ruler or as a savior.
To clearly indicate these roles, early Christian artists often relied on syncretism, meaning they combined visual formats from other cultures.
Probably the most popular syncretic image is Christ as the Good Shepherd, a beardless, youthful figure based on pagan representations of Orpheus, Hermes and Apollo.