Métodos da História da Arte: Iconografia





St. John the Baptist

St. John the Baptist, son of St. Elisabeth and the priest Zacharias, announces and precedes the coming of the Messiah and is therefore known as the Precursor. His story is told in the Gospels: Matthew 3: 1-17; 14:1-12; Mark 1:1-12; 6:7-29; Luke 3:1-20; John 1:29-34.The future apostles Peter and Andrew were numbered among his disciples.
When time came, John the Baptist appeared in Judaea. He was wearing a ‘rough coat of camel’s hair, with a leather belt round his waist, and his food was locust and wild honey. (Matthew 3:4). John proclaimed: “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is upon you!’ And people from jerusalem, Judaea, and the Jordan valley hurried to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. (Mathew 3:5-6). John baptized Jesus and recognized him as the Messiah.
King Herod was much disturbed by the activities of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ.
John was imprisoned for censuring the incestuous marriage between Herod Antipas and Herodias, the wife of his brother. Herod would have liked to put John the Baptist to death, but he was afraid of the people, in whose eyes John was a prophet.
At Herod’s birthday party the daughter of Herodias, Salome, danced before the guests, and Herod was so delighted that gave an oath to fulfill any of her wishes. Prompted by her mother, Salome asked for the head of St. John the Baptist be presented to her on a dish. At this the king was distressed, but because of his oath he ordered the request be granted, and had John beheaded in prison. The head was brought on a dish and given to the girl; and she carried it to her mother.
Then Johns disciples came and took away the body, and buried it. (Matthew 14: 1-12).
Since the Middle ages John the Baptist is usually depicted wearing sheepskin, carrying a stick topped by a crucifix, a medallion with a lamb, or accompanied by a white lamb.
See: Fra Bartolommeo The Annunciation, with Saints Margaret, Mary Magdalene, Paul, John the Baptist, Jerome and FrancisThe Holy Family with St. John the Baptist.
Giovanni Bellini. Head of St. John the Baptist.
Jacopo Bellini. St. John the Baptist Preaching.
Hieronymus Bosch Mary and St. John at the Foot of the CrossSt. John the Baptist.
Botticelli Virgin and Child Enthroned between Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the EvangelistMadonna and Child and the Young St. John the BaptistThe Virgin and Child with John the Baptist.
François Boucher. The Baby Jesus and the Infant Saint John.
Agnolo Bronzino. St. John the Baptist.
Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The Sermon of St. John the Baptist.
Pieter Brueghel the Younger. The Testimony of John the Baptist.
Robert Campin Heinrich von Werl and St. John the Baptist.
Caravaggio St. John the BaptistSt. John the BaptistSt. John the BaptistThe Beheading of St. John the Baptist,Salome with the Head of St. John the Baptist.
Andrea del CastagnoMadonna and Child with Angels, SS. John the Baptist and Jerome, and Two Youths from the Pazzi Household.
Cima da Conegliano. The Virgin and Mary between St. John the Baptist and St. Mary Magdalen.
Cimabue Madonna and Child with the Baptist and St. Peter.
Francesco del Cossa. St. John the Baptist. Side panel of the Grifoni Polyptych.
DionysiusSt. John the Baptist.
Domenico VenezianoSt. John in the DesertSt. John the Baptist and St. FrancisThe Madonna and Child Enthroned with SS. Francis, John the Baptist, Zenobius and Lucy.
Jan van Eyck The Birth of John the Baptist.
El Greco The Holy Family with St. Anne and the Young John the BaptistSt. John the Evangelist and St. Francis.St. John the Baptist.
Gentile da Fabriano. St. Mary Magdalene, St. Nicholas of Bari, St. John the Baptist, St. George.
Giotto. Birth and Naming of John the BaptistThe Feast of Herod.
Alexander Ivanov Head of John the Baptist.
Georges de La Tour St. John the Baptist in the Desert.
Leonardo da Vinci St. John the BaptistJohn the Baptist.
Filippino Lippi St. John the BaptistMadonna and Child Enthroned with St. John the Baptist, St. Victor, St. Bernard and St. Zenobius (“Altarpiece of the Otto di Pratica”).
Fra Filippo Lippi The Feast of Herod: Salome’s Dance, The Adoration, with the Infant Baptist and St. Bernard.
Andrea Mantegna. Holy Family with St. Elizabeth and St. John the Baptist as a Child.
Masaccio The Beheading of St. John the Baptist.
Masolino Herod’s Banquet.
Hans Memling St. John the Baptist and St. Mary MagdalenAltar of Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist.
Anton Raphael Mengs. St. John the Baptist.
Michelangelo Tondo Pitti – Virgin and Child with the Young St. JohnDoni Tondo – The Holy Family with St. John the Baptist.
Pietro Perugino. Madonna and Child Enthroned with St. John the Baptist and St. Sebastian.
Piero della FrancescaSt. Sebastian and St. John the Baptist.
Pontormo. Birth of St. John the Baptist.
Nicolas Poussin St. John BaptizingHoly Family with John the Baptist and St. Elizabeth.
Raphael The Boy Baptist in the Desert.
Sir Joshua Reynolds. Child Baptist in the Wilderness.
Russian IconSt. John the Baptist.
Luca SignorelliThe Birth of St. John the Baptist.
Titian St. John the BaptistSalome.
Rogier van der Weyden St. John Altarpiece. The Birth of St. John the BaptistBeheading of St. John the Baptist.

Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene, from an early Christian tradition, is three different women, which either met or followed Christ, combined: the unnamed sinner who, during a meal at the house of Simon the Pharisee, smears the Lord’s feet with perfume and dries them with her hair; Mary of Bethany, sister of Martha and Lazarus, who joined Jesus’ followers, received him in her house and persuaded him to raise her brother from the dead; and finally Mary of the town of Mandela, who was possessed by devils that Jesus exorcised, and who is present both at the Crucifixion and at the Entombment, and whom Christ graces with his first appearance as a Redeemer in the episode known as the Noli me tangere.
Mary Magdalene is the patron saint of prostitutes, hairdressers, perfumers, and of gardeners. In fine art she is presented with long loose hair; perfume or ointment pot, crown of thorns, mirror are sometimes also present.
See: Fra Bartolommeo The Annunciation, with Saints Margaret, Mary Magdalene, Paul, John the Baptist, Jerome and FrancisGod the Father in Glory with St. Mary Magdalene and St. Catherine of Siena.
Botticelli Holy Trinity with Mary Magdalene, St. John the Baptist and Tobias and the Angel (Pala della Convertite).
Caravaggio Penitent MagdaleneThe Conversion of Mary Magdalene.
Cima da Conegliano. The Virgin and Mary between St. John the Baptist and St. Mary Magdalen.
Carlo Crivelli. St. Catherine of Alexandria, St. Peter, and Mary Magdalene.
Honore Daumier. St. Magdalene in the Desert.
El Greco St. Mary Magdalene. Mary Magdalen in PenitenceMary Magdalen in PenitenceMary Magdalen in Penitence with the Crucifix.
Gentile da Fabriano. St. Mary Magdalene, St. Nicholas of Bari, St. John the Baptist, St. George.
Jean Hey, Master of Moulin.Portrait Presumed to be of Madeleine of Burgundy Presented by St. Madeleine.
Alexander Ivanov The Appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene.
Georges de La Tour. Repenting MagdaleneRepenting MagdaleneRepenting Magdalene,Repenting MagdaleneRepenting Magdalene.
Filippino Lippi  Mary Magdalene.
Fra Filippo Lippi The Adoration with St. Joseph, St. Jerome, Mary Magdalene and St. Ilarion.
Hans Memling St. John the Baptist and St. Mary Magdalen.
Pietro Perugino. Mary Magdalene.
Piero della FrancescaSt. Mary Magdalene.
Jusepe de Ribera. The Penitent Magdalen.
Luca SignorelliSS. Catherine of Siena, Mary Magdalene and JeromeThe Crucifixion with St. Mary Magdalen.
Jan van Scorel. Mary Magdalene.
Henryk Siemiradzki. Christ and Sinner. The First Meeting of Christ and Mary Magdalene.
Titian Noli me tangereMadonna and Child with Mary MagdalenePenitent St. Mary MagdaleneSt. Mary Magdalene.
Rogier van der Weyden Deposition. St. Mary Magdalene, Nicodemus, and a ServantMary MagdaleneBraque Triptych. St. Mary Magdalene.

St. Veronica

St. Veronica, or Berenice, was probably purely fictitious. According to legend, she was a pious woman of Jerusalem who moved to offer Christ her handkerchief as he bore his cross to Calvary, so that he could wipe his forehead. After using it, Jesus handed the handkerchief back to her, an image of his face miraculously impressed upon it.
The name Veronica is a latinisation of the Macedonian name Berenice, meaning ‘bearer of victory’. Folk etymology has ascribed the name to the words ‘vera’ (Latin for ‘true’) and ‘icon’ (Greek for ‘image’), referring to the image of Christ imprinted on the cloth.
SeeRobert Campin St. Veronica.
Hans Memling St. Veronica.
Rogier van der Weyden Crucifixion Triptych. St. Veronica.

Flagellation and Crowning with Thorns

Flagellation and Crowning with Thorns, this episode takes place after interrogation by Pilate, who washes his hands and delivers Jesus over to soldiers, who beat Him with whips stuck with lead and fragments of bone; after that the soldiers dress Him in purple, give Him a reed sceptre and put on His head a crown made of thorns, then they marched past Him, shouting “Hail, King of Jews!”
See: Hieronymus Bosch Christ Crowned with ThornsChrist Crowned with Thorns.
Caravaggio Flagellation of ChristThe Flagellation of Christ.
Petrus Christus Chtist as the Man of Sorrows.
Duccio di Buoninsegna. MaestàThe FlagellationMaestàThe Crown of Thorns.
Albrecht Dürer Christ as the Man of Sorrows.
Anthony van Dyck  The Crowning with Thorns.
Fra Angelico. Flagellation.
Giotto. The Mocking of Christ and Flagellation.
Ivan Kramskoy. Mocking Christ. “Hail, King of the Jews!”.
Piero della FrancescaFlagellation.
Jusepe de Ribera. Christ in the Crown of Thorns.
Russian IconThe Flagellation of Christ. Taking Christ into Captivity. Bearing the Cross. The Crusifixion.
Luca SignorelliThe Flagellation.
Titian Christ Crowned with Thorns.

Ecce Homo

Ecce Homo, Latin for “Behold the man”, words of Pontius Pilate. The episode occurs after Jesus’ Flagellation and the Crowning with Thorns. As the soldiers jeer at Christ “Hail, King of the Jews!” Pilate announces that he is about to produce the accused to the high priests and says “Behold the man!”. When they see Christ they all cry out that he should be crucified.
See: Hieronymus Bosch Ecce HomoEcce Homo.
Caravaggio Ecce Homo.
Honore Daumier. Ecce Homo.
Aert de Gelder. Ecce Homo.
Rembrandt. Christ Shown to the People.
Titian Ecce HomoEcce Homo.


   David is the most popular hero of the Bible, his story is told in The First and in the Second Books of Samuel. He descended from the tribe of Judah, started his career as a shepherd, and was anointed by the prophet Samuel, ‘And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward’ (1 Samuel 16:13).
At the age of 18 David was admitted to king Saul’s entourage as a musician. The main concern of the king was the war with the Philistines, among whom fought the giant Goliath. David asked Saul’s permission to fight Goliath. David killed Goliath with a stone thrown from his sling and then beheaded him with Goliath’s own sword. On seeing this the Philistine army fled.
See:Caravaggio David with the Head of GoliathDavid with the Head of Goliath.
Rembrandt.  David Playing the Harp before SaulDavid Presenting the Head of Goliath to King Saul.
Titian David and Goliath.
After this victory, Saul made David a military commander and began to give him many serious and dangerous tasks. Saul was jealous and afraid of David’s popularity, youth, strength, cleverness and hoped that during some of the battles he would be killed. Meanwhile David found sympathy and support in Saul’s own family: the friendship with Saul’s son Jonathan lasted till the death of the latter, and Saul’s daughter Michal fell in love with David. She became David’s wife and helped him to escape her father’s attempt to kill him. After several attempts on his life, David fled to Samuel, where Saul did not dare arrest him.
See: Cima da Conegliano. David and Jonathan.
Rembrandt. Departing of David and Jonathan
People found out about David’s situation ‘and everyone who was discontented, gathered to him; and he became captain to them’ (1 Samuel 22:2). Thus David became an outlaw and a leader of his personal army. There was an episode when David could have killed Saul, when the latter was alone and unarmed, but he refused to take advantage of the situation.
See: Count Feodor Tolstoy. David Refuses to Kill Sleeping Saul.
The Philistines managed to surround Saul with all his sons on the Mount Gilboa; the sons were killed, to avoid capture Saul fell on his own sword. When David found out about their death he mourned for them.
See: Jean Fouquet. Report of Saul’s Death to David.
After Saul’s death David became the king and unified his kingdom by capturing Jerusalem. He made it his capital, constructed the royal palace there. He is considered to be a great musician of the time and the author of the Book of Psalms.
David had many wives, the most important of them were: Michal, daughter of Saul; Abigal, who was able to calm David’s anger; Bathsheba, who gave birth to the next King of Jews, Solomon.
See: Ferdinand Bol. David’s Dying Charge to Solomon.
Andrea del CastagnoThe Youthful David.
Lucas Cranach the Elder David and Bathsheba.
Michelangelo David.
Nicolas Poussin The Triumph of David.
Andrea del Verrocchio DavidDavid.

Creation of the World

    Creation of the World. The biblical story of the creation of the world occupies the first two chapters of the Genesis . God created the world in 6 days. First, He separated light from darkness; then parted waters from the sky and the earth; on the forth day He put a sun and a moon in the sky; on the fifth day He created all the animals; and on the sixth day He created a man in his own image. On the seventh day God saw that all his work was completed and blessed that day and rested.
See: Hieronymus Bosch Creation of the World.
Michelangelo The Separation of Light and DarknessThe Creation of the Sun and MoonThe Separation of Land and Water.
Paolo Uccello. The Creation of Animals, and the Creation of Man.

Christ Entering Jerusalem

Christ Entering Jerusalem is the final visit to the city, described by all four evangelists: Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-38; John 12:12-15.
It happened several days before the Passover festival, and the crowds of pilgrims who had come for the festival went out to meet him “with palm branches in their hands, shouting , ‘Hosanna! blessed is the king of Israel!” (John 12:13).
“Crowds of people carpeted the road with their cloaks, and some cut branches from the trees to spread
in his path.” (Matthew 21:8). ”
“Jesus found a donkey and mounted it, in accordance with the words of scripture: ‘Fear no more, daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, mounted on a donkey’s colt.’ At the time  his disciples did not understand this, but after Jesus had been glorified they remembered that this had been written about him, and that it had happened to him.” (John 12:14-16).
When he entered Jerusalem the whole city went wild with excitement. ‘Who is this?’ people asked, and the crowds replied, ‘This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.’ (Matthew 21:10-11)
See: Duccio di Buoninsegna. MaestàThe Entry into Jerusalem.
Giotto Christ Entering Jerusalem.
Pietro Lorenzetti. Entry of Christ into Jerusalem.
Henryk Siemiradzki. Entrance of Christ into Jerusalem.

Christ’s Descent into Hell or Descent into Limbo

The legend can be found in the Apocryphal text, the Gospel of Nicodemus. After his Resurrection, Jesus descended into Hell and led the just, the patriarchs, the prophets of the Old Testament and Adam and Eve, into the light. Later a clarity was introduced that all of them were not in Hell, but in the bordering region, Limbo (from the Latin word limbus, a hem); it was taught that because they lived and died before the Christ’s self-sacrifice for peoples redemption, they were put in the lower place until such time when Jesus could liberate them.
The story was later retold in the Golden Legend.
See: Agnolo Bronzino. Christ in Limbo.
Duccio di Buoninsegna. MaestàChrist in Limbo.
Fra Angelico. Christ in Limbo.

Resurrection of Christ

The story of Resurrection is told with variation in details in all four Gospels: Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-9; John 20:1-18.
Three days after Christ’s Entombment, at the end of Sabbath, the women (St. Mark names Mary of Magdala, Mary, mother of James, and Salome) went to Holy Sepulchre to embalm Christ’s body, wondering on their way how they would be able to roll away the heavy stone in front of the tomb. They found the tomb already open and in front stood a youth clad in white, who told them, that Christ was not in the tomb but was risen. This episode is also called in fine arts Holy Women at the Sepulchre.
See: Albrecht Altdorfer The Resurrection of Christ.
Giovanni Bellini. The Resurrection.
Agnolo Bronzino. Resurrection.
Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The Resurrection of Christ.
Maurice DenisHoly Women Near the Tomb/Saintes Femmes au tombeau.
Duccio di Buoninsegna. MaestàThe Three Women at the Tomb.
Fra Angelico. Noli me tangere.
El Greco The Resurrection.
Matthias Grünewald The Resurrection.
Jacob Jordaens. Holy Women at the Sepulchre.
Hans Memling The Resurrection, with the Martyrdom of St. Sebastian and the Ascension.
Piero della FrancescaThe Resurrection.
Pontormo. The Resurrection of Christ.
Rembrandt. The Resurrection of Christ.
Peter Paul Rubens Christ Risen.
Christ made several appearances after his Resurrection in front of his followers and disciples and entrusted them with the task of spreading his teaching throughout the world.
The following episodes of Resurrection can be found in painting:
Noli me tangere is an episode, in which Christ Resurrected appears before Mary Magdalene. She was weeping alone over an empty tomb of Christ. Then she discovered that instead of Christ’s body there were two angels, who asked her why she was crying. She turned around and saw an unknown man, whom she first took for a gardener. She asked him where she could find Jesus’ body, then she recognized him, but he did not allow to touch himself “Touch me not”- Noli me tangere- “for I have not yet ascended to the father. But go to my brothers, and tell them that I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”  And Mary hurried to the desciples and gave them his message. (John 20:17-18).
See:  Agnolo Bronzino. Noli me tangereAgnolo Bronzino. Noli me tangere.
Jan Brueghel the Younger. Noli me tangere.
Correggio Noli me tangere.
Duccio di Buoninsegna. MaestàNoli me tangere.
Giotto. Ressurection (Noli me tangere).
Hans Holbein Noli Me Tangere.
Alexander Ivanov The Appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene.
Nicolas Poussin Noli me tangere.
Martin Schongauer. Christ and Mary MagdaleneNoli me tangere.
Titian Noli me tangere.
The Flemish painter, Jordaens, makes three Marys (The Virgin Mary, mother of Christ, Mary Magdalene, and Mary, mother of James) the participants of the above-described episode.
Jacob Jordaens. Christ Comes as a Gardener to Three Marys.
Christ Appearance Behind the Locked Doors: Later the same day after Mary Magdalene had seen Christ Resurrected (see the episode Noli me tangere) and transmitted His message to the desciples, the disciples were together behind the locked doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them ‘Peace be with you!’ he said. Then he showed them his hands and his side and blessed them: “Receive the Holy Spirit! If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you pronounce them unforgiven, unforgiven they remain.” (John 20: 19-23)
See: Duccio di Buoninsegna. MaestàChrist’s Appearance Behind Locked Doors.

Christ and Woman Taken in Adultery.

Christ and Woman Taken in Adultery. This episode is described by St. John (8:2-11). The Pharisees brought to Christ a woman caught in adultery; under the Jewish law she should have been stoned, but Romans forbade the Jews to enforce the death penalty. Pharisees waited what Christ would say in hope that he would offend either Jews or Romans. Christ said nothing but wrote in the dust, ‘That one of you who is faultless shall throw the first stone’. At this the woman’s accusers left, and Christ said to the woman, ‘You may go; do not sin again’.
See: Lucas Cranach the Younger Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery.
Lorenzo Lotto Christ and the Adulteress.
Vasiliy Polenov Christ and Woman Taken in Adultery.
Nicolas Poussin Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery.
Rembrandt. Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery.

Passions of Christ, the following episodes are usually included:

Passions of Christ, the following episodes are usually included:
See: Hans Holbein The Passion of Christ.
On the Mount of Olives (Matthew 26:30-35; Mark 14:26-31; Luke 21:39-45).
Following the Last Supper Jesus with his disciples went to the mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them that ‘tonight you will all lose faith because of me; for it is written: “I will strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.” But after I am raised, I shall go ahead of you into Galilee.’  Peter replied, ‘Everyone else may lose faith because of you, but I never will’.  And Jesus answered, that ‘tonight before the cock crows you will disown me three times.’ (Matthew 26: 31-35).
See: Duccio di Buoninsegna. MaestàThe Prayer on the Mount of Olives.
Agony in the Garden, after the Mount of Olives, Jesus went up to the Garden of Gethsemane. He took with him Peter, James and John. He prayed there to his father Lord, begging him to release him from crucifixion.
In painting this episode is often depicted with three apostles asleep, while Jesus is praying, with an angel to console Him. The chalice or cup mentioned by Christ in His prayer, “if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it” (Matthew 26:42), finds its place in the hand of the angel, sometimes the angel also carries a cross.
See: Albrecht Altdorfer The Agony in the Garden.
Fra Angelico. Agony in the Garden.
Nikolay Gay Christ and the Disciples Going out into the Garden of Gethsemane after the Last Supper.
Aert de Gelder. Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane.
El Greco The Agony in the GardenThe Agony in the Garden.
Jan Gossaert. The Agony in the Garden.
Hans Holbein the Elder The Agony in the Garden.
Andrea Mantegna. Agony in the Garden.
Pontormo. The Agony in the Garden.
Arrest of Christ, this event is usually divided into two episodes: the Kiss of Judas, by which the traitor showed the wanted man, Jesus, and the arrest itself. After the arrest the disciples flee. The tradition links Judas’ betrayal to Cain’s murder of his brother Abel.
See: Hieronymus Bosch Arrest of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Caravaggio The Betrayal of Christ.
Duccio di Buoninsegna. MaestàThe Betrayal by JudasMaestàThe Seizing of Jesus.
Anthony van Dyck The Arrest of Christ.
Fra Angelico. Arrest of Christ.
Giotto The Kiss of JudasThe Betrayal of Judas.
Russian IconThe Flagellation of Christ. Taking Christ into Captivity. Bearing the Cross. The Crusifixion.
Trial of Jesus. After the arrest, Christ was handed over to the jurisdiction of the Sanhedrin. First, He is brought in front of Annas (John 18:12-23), the father-in-law of the high priest Caiaphas. After interrogation he then sent Jesus to Caiaphas. (Matthew 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65; Luke 22:66-71). Christ in answer to Caiaphas’s questions said that he was the awaited Messiah and the Son of the God. Caiaphas constituted that Jesus was guilty in blasphemy, punishable in Jewish law by death.
See: Duccio di Buoninsegna. MaestàJesus Before AnnasMaestàJesus Before Caiaphas,MaestàJesus Accused by the Pharisees.
Giotto Christ Before Caiphus.
After interrogation Caiaphas handed Him over to the guards, who beat him, spat into his face and mocked him. This episode is treated separately in art as Christ Mocked.
See: Duccio di Buoninsegna. Maestà: Jesus Mocked.
Fra Angelico. The Mockery of Christ.
Matthias Grünewald The Mocking of Christ.
Jan Sanders van Hemessen. Christ Mocked.
The guards brought Christ to the Roman governor of Judaea, Pontius Pilate. After interrogation Pilate could “find no fault in this man” and sent Him, since He was Galilean, to Herod, the then King of Galilee. This last mocked Christ and sent Him back to Pilate, who proposed to release Him. But the high priests present cried that Christ should be crucified, while the other man, Barabbas, who was under the trial for murder simultaneously with Christ, should be released on the spot. Pilate then washed his hands, saying “I am innocent of the blood of this just person; he then released Barabbas, had Jesus scourged, and handed him over for crucifixion.
See: Duccio di Buoninsegna. MaestàJesus Before Pontius PilateMaestàJesus Before King HerodMaestàPontius Pilate’s Second Interrogation of ChristMaestàPontius Pilate Washing his Hands.
Nikolay Gay “Quod Est Veritas?” Christ and Pilate.
Pontormo. Christ Standing before Pilate.
Flagellation and Crowning with Thorns, this episode takes place after interrogation by Pilate, who washes his hands and delivers Jesus over to soldiers, who beat Him with whips stuck with lead and fragments of bone; after that the soldiers dress Him in purple, give Him a reed sceptre and put on His head a crown made of thorns, then they marched past Him, shouting “Hail, King of Jews!”
See: Hieronymus Bosch Christ Crowned with ThornsChrist Crowned with Thorns.
Caravaggio Flagellation of ChristThe Flagellation of Christ.
Petrus Christus Chtist as the Man of Sorrows.
Duccio di Buoninsegna. MaestàThe FlagellationMaestàThe Crown of Thorns.
Albrecht Dürer Christ as the Man of Sorrows.
Anthony van Dyck  The Crowning with Thorns.
Fra Angelico. Flagellation.
Giotto. The Mocking of Christ and Flagellation.
Ivan Kramskoy. Mocking Christ. “Hail, King of the Jews!”.
Piero della FrancescaFlagellation.
Jusepe de Ribera. Christ in the Crown of Thorns.
Russian IconThe Flagellation of Christ. Taking Christ into Captivity. Bearing the Cross. The Crusifixion.
Luca SignorelliThe Flagellation.
Titian Christ Crowned with Thorns.

Ecce Homo, Latin for “Behold the man”, words of Pontius Pilate. The episode occurs after Jesus’ Flagellation and the Crowning with Thorns. As the soldiers jeer at Christ “Hail, King of the Jews!” Pilate announces that he is about to produce the accused to the high priests and says “Behold the man!”. When they see Christ they all cry out that he should be crucified.
See: Hieronymus Bosch Ecce HomoEcce Homo.
Caravaggio Ecce Homo.
Honore Daumier. Ecce Homo.
Aert de Gelder. Ecce Homo.
Rembrandt. Christ Shown to the People.
Titian Ecce HomoEcce Homo.
Carrying the Cross and Crucifixion, the execution for slaves in Ancient Rome. Christ was commanded to carry His cross to the place of execution on the mount of Calvary.
See: Hieronymus Bosch Christ Carrying the CrossChrist Carrying the CrossChrist Carrying the CrossChrist Carrying the Cross.
Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The Procession to Calvary.
Maurice DenisThe Road to Calvary/Montée au calvaire ou Le Calvaire.
Duccio di Buoninsegna. MaestàThe Road to Calvary.
El Greco. Christ Carrying the Cross.
Fra Angelico. Christ Carrying the Cross.
Giotto. The Carrying of the Cross.
Lorenzo Lotto The Carrying of the Cross.
Pontormo. The Ascent to Calvary.
Russian IconThe Flagellation of Christ. Taking Christ into Captivity. Bearing the Cross. The Crusifixion.
Martin Schongauer. The Carrying of the Cross.
Christ Stripped of His Clothes is the scene which preceded the crucifixion itself. The soldiers cast lots for His clothes and tear off His garments.
See: El Greco The Disrobing of Christ.Disrobing of Christ.
Crucifixion. At Golgotha Jesus was crucified. A sign above His head said that Crucified was “Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews”. A crowd gathered, near to the Cross stood Christ’s mother, the Virgin, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene”. (John 19:25) There are three crosses on Golgotha: that of Christ, and those of two thieves on the left and on the right of Him.
See: Albrecht Altdorfer Crucifixion,The Crucifixion.
Antonello da Messina. CrucifixionCrusifixion.
Hans Baldung The Crucifixion.
Giovanni Bellini. Crucifixion.
Herri Met de Bles. Procession to Golgotha.
Hieronymus Bosch Christ on Cross with Donors and Saints.
Jan Brueghel the Elder. The Great Calvary.
Andrea del CastagnoCrucifixionCrucifixionCrucifixion and Saints.
Francesco del Cossa. The Crucifixion.
Lucas Cranach the Elder The CrucifixionThe Crucifixion with the Converted Centurion.
Gerard David. The Crucifixion.
Jacques-Louis David. Christ on the Cross.
Maurice DenisThe Offertory at Calvary/Offrande au Calvaire.
DionysiusThe Crucifixion.
Duccio di Buoninsegna. MaestàThe Crucifixion.
El Greco. Christ on the Cross with Landscapes.
Jan van Eyck The Crucifixion.
Hubert and Jan van Eyck The Crucifixion. The Last Judgment.
Fra Angelico. Christ on the Cross Adored by St. DominicChrist Being Nailed to the CrossSt. Dominic with the Crucifix – Piercing of the Christ’s Side.
Nikolay Gay The Calvary.
Giotto. The Crucifixion.
El Greco Christ on Cross Adored by Two Donors.
Maerten Jacobsz van Heemskerch. GolgothaGolgotha.
Andrea Mantegna. Calvary.
Masaccio Crucifixion.
Matthias Grünewald CrucifixionCrucifixionThe Small Crucifixion.
Hans Memling Crucifixion.
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo Crucifixion.
Pietro Perugino. The Crucifixion with the Virgin, St. John, St. Jerome and St. Mary Magdalene.
Pablo Picasso. Crucifixion.
Piero della FrancescaCrucifixion.
Nicolas PoussinThe Crucifixion.
Raphael Crucifixion.
Rembrandt. The Raising of the Cross.
Peter Paul Rubens Christ on the CrossThe Elevation of the Cross.
Russian IconThe Flagellation of Christ. Taking Christ into Captivity. Bearing the Cross. The Crusifixion.
Luca SignorelliThe Crucifixion with St. Mary MagdalenCrucifixion.
Simone Martini. The Road to Calvary.
Titian Crucifixion.
Diego Velázquez. Christ Crucified.
Rogier van der Weyden Crucifixion TriptychCrucifixionCrucifixion DiptychCrucifixion.
Francisco de ZurbaránCrucifixion.
Lamentation (also Deposition, Pieta) – after Jesus’ death, Joseph of Arimathea obtained Pilate’s permission to bury His body. The closest people took the body from the cross, washed it and buried in a new tomb, not yet used for burial; and there, since it was the eve of the Jewish Sabbath, they laid Jesus. (John19:38-42).
See: Hans Baldung The Lamentation.
Giovanni Bellini. PietàPietàLamentation over the Dead ChristPesaro Altarpiece. Pietà.Pietà.
Alessandro Botticelli Lamentation over the Dead Christ.
Agnolo Bronzino. Pieta with Mary MagdaleneLamentationDescent from the Cross and LamentationLamentationPieta.
Cima da Conegliano. The Deposition.
Gerard David. The Virgin Embracing the Dead ChristThe Deposition.
Eugène Delacroix Pieta.
Duccio di Buoninsegna. MaestàThe Deposition.
Albrecht Dürer Lamentation for Christ.
Jean Fouquet. Pieta.
Fra Angelico. The DepositionLamentation over the Dead Christ.
Giotto  Lamentation.
Hugo van der Goes The Lamentation (The Three Marys and John the Evangelist)The Lamentation.
Jan Gossaert. Descent from the Cross.
Benozzo Gozzoli. Descent from the Cross.
Jacob Jordaens. Pieta.
Filippino Lippi and Pietro Perugino. The Deposition from the CrossFilippino Lippi. Pieta.
Pietro Lorenzetti. The Deposition.
Quentin Massys. Lamentation.
Michelangelo PietaPietaPieta Rondanini.
Pietro Perugino. PietàLamentation Over the Dead ChristPieta.
Pontormo. LamentationDeposition of Christ.
Nicolas Poussin The Lamentation over ChristThe Lamentation over ChristDescend from the Cross.
Rembrandt. The Descent from the CrossThe Descent from the CrossThe Descent from the Cross.
Peter Paul Rubens The LamentationThe Descent from the Cross,
Jusepe de Ribera. The Deposition.
Simone Martini. The Deposition.
Cosme Tura. PietàPietà.
Mikhail Vrubel. Pietà., Pietà.
Rogier van der Weyden DepositionLamentation of ChristPietaLamentation of Christ,Lamentation.

Baptism of Christ

Baptism of Christ is decribed in the Gospels: Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:29-34.
In the course of time John the Baptist appeared in Judaea and proclaimed: ‘Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is upon you!’ (Matthew 3:1-2). “Everyone flocked to him from Jerusalem, Judaea, and the Jordan valley, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.” (Matthew 3:5-6).
Then Jesus arrived to the Jordan river and asked John to baptize him. At first John refused, saying ‘It is I who need to be baptized by you.’ (Mat.3:14), but Jesus insisted as it was commanded by God. Then John agreed.
“No sooner had Jesus been baptized and come up out of the water than the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove to alight on him. And there came a voice from heaven saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I take delight.’ (Matthew 3:16-17).
See: Cima da Conegliano. Baprism of Christ in the Jordan.
Jean-Baptiste-Camille CorotThe Baptism of Christ.
Gerard David. The Baptism of Christ.
Fra Angelico. Baptism of Christ.
El Greco The Baptism of ChristBaptism of Christ.
Alexander Ivanov. The Appearance of Christ to the People.
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo The Baptism of Christ.
Joahim Patinir. The Baptism of Christ.
Piero della FrancescaBaptism of Christ.
Nicolas PoussinThe Baptism of ChristThe Baptism of ChristThe Baptism of ChristThe Baptism of Christ.
Henryk Siemiradzki. Baptism of Christ.
Andrea del Verrocchio and Leonardo da Vinci The Baptism of Christ.


Balaam was a famous non-Israelite prophet, whom king Balak of Moab summoned to curse the Israelite invaders (Numbers 22:5). Balaam, advised by God “only what I bid you, that shall you do” (Num 22:20), hurried to Balak. God sent an angel with a sword to block Balaam’s way, but only his donkey could see the divine messenger. When Balaam started to beat the animal, God allowed the donkey to speak in protest and finally let Balaam see and talk to the angel, who sent him on, warning him to speak only ‘the word which I bid you’ (Num 22:35). When Balaam came at last to Balak he blessed Israel and foretold Israel’s eventual triumph over its enemies, including Moab.
See: Rembrandt. The Ass of Balaam Talking before the Angel.

Esther, Assuerus, Haman and Mardochus

Esther, the Jewish wife of the Persian king Assuerus (Xerxes I, 485-464 B.C.), is the main character of the Book of Esther. Orphaned at an early age, Esther was brought up in the family of her older cousin Mardochus (or Mordecai), who, like many other Jews, was a captive of Persia. The king of that time, Assuerus (Ahasuerus), was looking for a new wife, and many pretty girls were taken into his harem, among them was Esther. After a year’s training the girls were introduced to the king and he liked Esther most. She became the new queen.  During all this time Mardochus was in contact with his cousin, giving her advice and instructions. Following her cousin’s instructions she did not reveal her Jewish origin. Once, lingering at the gates of the palace, Mardochus overheard two guards planning to kill the king. He immediately, through Esther, informed the king about the plot. Soon thereafter king Assuerus appointed one Haman his first minister. Mardochus was among the spectators at the palace gates when the new first minister was entering the palace; everyone bowed, but Mardochus refused. Haman was infuriated and plotted to kill not only Mardochus, but all the Jews in Persia. When the terrible decree was issued Mardochus applied to Esther for help.
Meanwhile the king was having a bad sleep and asked that the royal journal be read to him. Thus he learned that Mardochus had earlier saved him and realized that he had never thanked him.  Next day when Haman came to the palace the king asked him how to reward a man to whom the king was obliged. Haman, thinking that the king meant him, offered an honorary procession, of course, he was unpleasantly surprised when the king ordered him to organize the procession in honor of the Jew Mardochus.
Esther in her turn asked the king to make a banquet and invite Haman, who was much pleased with the queen’s attention. But during the banquet Esther revealed her Jewish origin and told the king about Haman’s plan to kill her people. The king left the banquet room to consider the question, and Haman threw himself at the queen’s feet pleading her to have mercy on him. When the king returned, he thought that Haman was attacking his queen, and ordered his death immediately. Haman was hanged on the gallows he had prepared for Mardochus. Thus the Jewish population of Persia was saved and their enemy punished.
This event is celebrated by Jews as Purim holiday.
See: Andrea del CastagnoQueen Esther.
Filippino Lippi Three Scenes from the Story of Esther.
Michelangelo The Punishment of Haman.
Nicolas Poussin Esther Before Assuerus.
Rembrandt. Esther Preparing to Intercede with Assuerus (?)Assuerus, Haman and EstherHaman Begging Esther for Mercy.

Ascension of Christ

Ascension of Christ is the term used for the last appearence of Christ to the apostles after His resurrection, when He was taken up to heaven. The Ascension of Jesus is witnessed by Mark: Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to his pupils several times on different occasions. The last time He appeared to them “while they were at the table, and reproached them for their incredulity and dullness.” (Mark 16:14). Then he said to them: “Go to every part of the world, and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Those who believe it and receive baptism will be saved; those who do not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:16). “… after the Lord Jesus had spoken with them, He was received up into heaven, and He sat on the right hand of God.” – (Mark 16:19).
See: Albrecht Altdorfer Ascension of Christ.
John Singleton Copley. Ascension.
Hans Memling The Resurrection, with the Martyrdom of St. Sebastian and the Ascension.


Apocalypse, the name comes from the Greek ‘apocalypses’, meaning unveiling, revelation, particularly of a divine nature. The faith of the early Christians, living under persecution, was sustained by the expectation of Christ’s immenent second coming. This found literary expression in the Revelation of John, written at the end of the first century A.D., an allegory foretelling of  the end of the world and the coming of the Last Judgment, the destruction of the wicked, the overthrow of Satan and the establishment of Christ’s kingdom on earth.
The sequence of fantastic images – the author’s visions – forms a cycle of themes that are found in fine art.
In the book John witnessed that he saw the Lord our God on the throne, in His right hand He had “a scroll with writing on both sides, and sealed with seven seals.” (Revelation 5:1). Then the Lamb of all living creatures started to break the seals:
the first seal was broken, and there was “a white horse, and its rider held a bow. He was given a crown, and he rode forth, conquering and to conquer.”(Rev. 6:2). It was ‘Conquerer’ ;
the second seal was broken, “out came another horse, which was red. Its rider was given power to take away peace from the earth that men might slaughter one another; and he was given a great sword.” (Rev.6:4). It was ‘War’;
the third seal was broken, and there came the black horse, “and its rider was holding in his hand a pair of scales”, he was ordered to take away crops” (Rev.6:5). It was ‘Famine’;
the forth seal was broken, and “there was another horse, sickly pale; its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed close behind.” (Rev.6:8).
These four are called the Horsemen of the Apocalypse and usually interpreted as the agents of divine rage.
See: Dürer The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Russian IconThe Apocalypse.
Luca SignorelliThe End of the World, Apocalypse.

Virgin Mary

Virgin Mary (Madonna), the mother of Jesus Christ. Only part of her legend can be found in the Gospels (of Matthew and of Luke), many facts of her life were written later, and her cult was established only in the late Middle Ages. The fullest account of her life could be found in The Golden Legend, a collection of apocryphal texts, and saints’ legends published in Latin in the 13th century by the Dominican Jacob da Voragine, Archbishop of Genoa.
See: Andrei RublevThe Virgin of Vladimir.
Theophanes the GreekThe VirginThe Don Virgin.
The following episodes from the life of Mary are reflected in the fine arts:
Birth of Mary is described in Protoevangelium of James (2nd century A.D.). She was miraculously born to a rich elderly man Joachim and his wife Anne, who had been barren for many years. From the age of six months, Mary was kept pure in a “sanctuary in her chamber”, cared for by “the undefiled daughters of the Hebrews.”
See: Vittore CarpaccioBirth of the Virgin.
Domenico Ghirlandaio The Birth of Mary.
Giotto. The Birth of Mary.
Benozzo Gozzoli. Tabernacle of the Visitation: Birth of Mary.
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo Childhood of the Virgin.
Francisco de Zurbarán Childhood of the Virgin.
Presentation of the VirginProtoevangelium of James and The Golden Legend tell how at the age of 3 Mary was brought to the Temple with offerings. Left on the lowest step of the Temple she mounted up without any help. After they made their offerings, Anne and Joachim, left their daughter, with other virgins, at the Temple.
See: Jacopo Bellini. Presentation of the Virgin at the Temple.
Cima da Conegliano.Presentation of the Virgin Mary at the Temple.
Giotto Presentation at the Temple.
Education of the VirginProtoevangelium of James and TheGolden Legend tell that Mary was left in the Temple and was brought up there ‘with other virgins… and was visited daily by angels’.
Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Education of the Virgin.
Georges de La Tour. Education of the Virgin.
Marriage of the Virgin. Mary’s engagement and marriage are not in the Scripture either, but are invented later. When Mary was 14 the high priest ordered all the descendants of David of marriageable age to gather and bring a rod; whose rod blossomed into flower would become Mary’s husband. Joseph, no longer young, also came with his rod, and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove made his rod bloom. Then the wedding was celebrated according to Jewish customs.
See: Fra Angelico. Annunciation. The Wedding of the Virgin.
Giotto The Marriage Procession of the VirginMarriage of the Virgin.
El Greco Marriage of the Virgin.
Pietro Perugino. Marriage of the Virgin.
Nicolas PoussinThe Marriage of the VirginThe Marriage of the Virgin.
Raphael Marriage of the Virgin.
Annunciation – is told by Luke (1:26-38): ‘the archangel Gabriel was sent by God’ to Mary. Gabriel announced to her that she was to give birth to a son, Jesus, who ‘will be great, and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David, and he will be king over Israel for ever; his reign shall never end’. ‘”I am the Lord’s servant,” said Mary; “may it be as you have said.” Then the angel left her.’
See: Antonello da Messina. Virgin AnnunciateThe AnnunciationThe Annunciation.
Fra Bartolommeo Annunciation
Giovanni Bellini. The AnnunciationThe Annunciation.
Alessandro Botticelli Cestello AnnunciationThe Annunciation.
Dieric Bouts the Elder The Annumciation.
Melchior Broederlam. Annunciation and Visitation.
Agnolo Bronzino. AnnunciationAnnunciationAnnunciation.
Sir Edward Burne-Jones The Annunciation. The Flower of GodAnnunciation.
Robert Campin The Annunciation. (The Merode Altarpiece).
Vittore CarpaccioAnnunciation.
Petrus Christus The Annunciation and The Nativity.
Cima da Conegliano. Annunciation.
Francesco del Cossa. Annunciation.
Carlo Crivelli. Annunciation with St. Emidius.
Duccio di Buoninsegna. MaestàThe Annunciation.
Jan van Eyck The Annunciation. Gabriel. Virgin, The AnnunciationThe Annunciation.
Fra Angelico. Annunciation and Adoration of the MagiPerugia Triptych: Angel of the AnnunciationPerugia Triptych: The Virgin from the AnnunciationAltarpiece of theAnnunciationAnnunciationAnnunciationAnnunciation.
Giotto. The Angel of AnnunciationThe Angel of Annunciation.
Benozzo Gozzoli. Tabernacle of the Visitation: Annunciation: the Archangel GabrielMary.
El Greco The AnnunciationThe AnnunciationThe AnnunciationThe Annunciation.
Matthias Grünewald The Annunciation.
Leonardo da Vinci The Annunciation.
Fra Filippo Lippi The AnnunciationThe Annunciation.
Filippino Lippi Annunciation.
Ambrogio Lorenzetti. Annunciation.
Lorenzo Lotto The AnnunciationThe Angel of the Annunciation.
Masolino Archangel GabrielThe Virgin AnnunciateThe Annunciation.
Anton Raphael Mengs. AnnunciationAnnunciation.
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo Annunciation.
Pontormo. Annunciation.
Nicolas Poussin The AnnunciationThe Annunciation.
Pierre-Paul Prud’hon.Head of the Virgin for Annunciation.
Raphael The Annunciation.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti Ecce Ancilla Domini (“The Annunciation”).
Martin Schongauer. The Annunciation.
Simone Martini. Annunciation.
Titian The Annunciation.
Rogier van der Weyden St. Columba Altarpiece. AnnunciationAnnunciation Triptych.
Visitation, the visit of the Virgin Mary to her cousin St. Elizabeth soon after the Annunciation, is described by St. Luke (1:39-56). It was a meeting of mutual rejoicing: Mary had conceived and Elizabeth was in the sixth month of pregnancy with her future son, St. John the Baptist. When Elizabeth saw Mary and heard her greetings, ‘the baby stirred in her womb.’ And she said to Mary: ‘Happy is she who has had faith that the Lord’s promise to her would be fulfilled!’
And Mary answered:
‘My soul tells out the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour;
for he has looked with favour on his servant,
lowly as she is.
From this day forwardd
all genertions will count me blessed,
for the Mighty God has done great things for me.”
See: Dieric Bouts the Elder The Visitation.
Melchior Broederlam. Annunciation and Visitation.
Maurice DenisThe Visitation.
El Greco. Visitation.
Jean Fouquet Visitation.
Fra Angelico. Annunciation. The Visitation.
Domenico Ghirlandaio The Visitation.
Giotto. The Visitation.
Pontormo. The VisitationThe Visitation.
Jan van Scorel. The Visitation.
Rogier van der Weyden Visitation of Mary.
Second Annunciation is only rarely portrayed in art, although it is known from the Golden Legend. Shortly before her death, an angel appeared to Mary a second time and told her that she would be assumed into Heaven, an idea closely related to the belief of immaculate conception and assumption. Mary correspondingly portrayed as an older woman wearing the veil of a married woman.
See: Duccio di Buoninsegna. MaestàThe Announcement of the Virgin’s Death.
Jean Fouquet. Second Annunciation.
Death of the Virgin is told in apocryphal texts: Mary, who lived till old age, longed to be with her son again. An angel visited her and foretold her death in the next three days. She prayed to be allowed to see all the apostles again. Apostles by that time were scattered over the world, but by divine power they were all brought to the bed of the dying Virgin. In three days she died and was met in heaven by Jesus Christ, angels, saints, martyrs, and virgins.
See: Pieter Bruegel the Elder.The Death of the Virgin.
Caravaggio Death of the Virgin.
Duccio di Buoninsegna. MaestàParting from the ApostlesThe Death of the Virgin.
Fra Angelico. Annunciation. The Death of the Virgin.
Giotto The Death of the Virgin.
Hugo van der Goes Death of the Virgin.
Benozzo Gozzoli. Tabernacle of the Madonna delle Tosse: Death of Mary.
Hans Holbein the Elder Death of the Virgin.
Andrea Mantegna. The Death of the Virgin.
Theophanes the Greek SchoolThe Dormition.
Assumption – bodily ascension into heaven after death.
Assumption of the Virgin has no Biblical basis, and it took a long time to establish this belief. Three days after her death the Virgin Mary was taken up to heaven.
See: Andrea del CastagnoThe Assumption of the Virgin with SS. Julian and Miniato.
Correggio Assumption of the Virgin.
Anthony van Dyck The Assumption of the Virgin.
Benozzo Gozzoli. Tabernacle of the Madonna delle Tosse: Assumption of the Virgin.
El Greco. Assumption of the Virgin.
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo The Assumption of the Virgin.
Pietro Perugino. The Assumption of the Virgin with Saints.
Nicolas Poussin The Assumption of the VirginThe Assumption of the Virgin.
Peter Paul Rubens The Assumption of the Virgin.
Titian Assumption of the Virgin.
Coronation of the Virgin took place just after her Assumption. In the heavens Mary was crowned. In the fine arts she is shown crowned by Christ, or by God the Father, or by the Trinity: Christ, God the Father and the dove, which symbolizes the Holy Ghost, are all present. The belief in the Coronation of the Virgin has no basis in the Bible. It is derived from the text attributed to a Bishop Melito of Sardis.
See: Giovanni Bellini. Pesaro Altarpiece. Coronation of the Virgin.
Alessandro Botticelli Coronation of the Virgin with the Saints John the Evangelist, Augustine, Jerome and Eligius. (San Marco altarpiece).
Fra Angelico. The Coronation of the VirginThe Coronation of the VirginThe Coronation of the VirginCoronation of the Virgin.
El Greco The Coronation of the Virgin.
Filippino Lippi The Coronation of the Virgin.
Fra Filippo Lippi Coronation of the VirginThe Coronation of the Virgin.
Raphael  Coronation of the Virgin.
Diego Velázquez. The Coronation of the Virgin.
Virgin Mary is present, though not as the main character, in all episodes connected with the birth, early years and death of her son Jesus Christ.
Recommended reading:
365 Mary: A Daily Guide to Mary’s Wisdom and Comfort by Woodeene Koenig-Brick (Author). Harper SanFrancisco, 1997.
Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God by Scott Hahn. Doubleday, 2001.
Mary and the Fathers of the Church: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Patristic Thought by Thomas Buffer (Translator), Luigi S. M. Gambero. Ignatius Press, 1999.
Mary Through the Centuries: Her Place in the History of Culture by Jaroslav Pelikan. Yale Univ Pr, 1998.
Mary: A Flesh-and-Blood Biography of the Virgin Mother by Lesley Hazleton (Author). Bloomsbury USA, 2004.
The World’s First Love by Fulton J. Sheen. Ignatius Press, 1996.
Mary: A History of Doctrine and Devotion by Hilda Graef. Sheed & Ward Ltd, 1999.
Introduction to Mary: The Heart of Marian Doctrine and Devotion by Mark I. Miravalle. Sheed & Ward Ltd, 1999.
John Paul II’s Book of Mary by Margaret Bunson (Compiler), Paul, II John. Our Sunday Visitor, 1996.
The Essential Mary Handbook: A Summary of Beliefs, Practices, and Prayers (Redemptorist Pastoral Publication)
by Judith A. Bauer (Editor). Liguori Publications, 1999.
Roses, Fountains, and Gold: The Virgin Mary in History, Art, and Apparition by John Martin. Ignatius Press, 1998.
Mary: Images of the Holy Mother by Jacqueline Orsini. Chronicle Books, 2000.
A Handbook on Guadalupe by Brother Francis Mary (Editor), Francis Mary. Ignatius Press, 1997.
The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God by St. John Maximovitch, Seraphim Father Rose (Translator). St Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1997.
Mary’s First Christmas by Walter, Jr. Wangerin. Zondervan, 1998.

Adoration of the Shepherds

Adoration of the Shepherds. The Gospel of Luke (2:8-20) tells that on the night Mary gave birth to Jesus Christ, an angel announced the Good News to the shepherds: ‘Now in this same district there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch through the night over their flock’, they were terrified when they saw the angel of the Lord, but the angel said: ‘Do not be afraid; I bring you good news, new of great joy for the whole nation. Today there has been born to you in the city of David a deliverer – the Messiah, the Lord.’ (Luke 2:8-12). After the angel had left them, the shepherds hurried to greet and worship the Child.
See: Agnolo Bronzino. Adoration of the Shepherds.
Caravaggio The Adoration of the Shepherds.
Cima da Conegliano. Adoration of the Shepherds.
Correggio Adoration of the Shepherds (The Holy Night).
Domenico Ghirlandaio Adoration of the Shepherds.
Giorgione Adoration of the Shepherds.
Giotto. The Nativity and Adoration of the Shepherds.
Hugo van der Goes Adoration of the ShepherdsThe Adoration of the Shepherds.
El Greco The Adoration of the ShepherdsThe Adoration of the ShepherdsThe Adoration of the Shepherds.
Georges de La Tour. The Adoration of the Shepherds.
Andrea Mantegna. The Adoration of the Shepherds.
Anton Raphael Mengs. The Adoration of the Shepherds.
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo Adoration of the Shepherds.
Nicolas PoussinAdoration of the Shepherds.
Rembrandt. Adoration of the Shepherds.
Jusepe de Ribera. The Adoration of the Shepherds.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti The Seed of David
Martin Schongauer. Adoration of the Shepherds.
Titian Adoration of the Shepherds.

Adoration of the Magi

Adoration of the Magi

            Adoration of the Magi (also Adoration of the Kings) – The Gospel of St. Matthew (2:1-12) tells how certain Magi (the Wisemen) from the Orient arrived in Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We observed the rising of his star, and we have come to pay him homage.’ (Mat. 2:2-3). King Herod and his court were greatly perturbed on hearing this; he asked the magi to report to him after they found the Child, so he too could go and worship him. Guided by the star, the magi discovered the Infant in a house at Bethlehem, worshiped him and presented him with their gifts. A dream warned the magi not to return to Herod’s court and they set off instead for their own country by another route.
Apocryphal gospels have enriched and embelished Matthew’s story. In the 2nd-3rd centuries A.D. the wisemen were also refered to as kings. In, approximately, the 9th they were given names: Caspar, or Jaspar, usually the oldest, Balthazar, and Melchior, usually the youngest. Though Matthew did not reveal the number of the magi, they are traditionally thought of as being three because of the number of symbolic gifts they presented to Christ: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Later the three magi (or kings) came to personify the three parts of the known world: Asia, Africa, and Europe.
See: Fra Angelico and Benozzo Gozzoli. Adoration of the Magi.
Hans Baldung The Three Kings Altarpiece.
Hieronymus Bosch EpiphanyEpiphany.
Alessandro Botticelli Adoration of the MagiAdoration of the Magi, Adoration of the Magi.
Dieric Bouts the Elder The Adoration of the Magi.
Pieter Bruegel the Elder The Adoration of the KingsAdoration of the Magi in Winter Landscape.
Pieter Brueghel the Younger Adoration of the Magi.
Domenico VenezianoThe Adoration of the Magi.
Gerard David. The Adoration of the Magi.
Albrecht Dürer Adoration of the Magi.
Duccio di Buoninsegna. MaestàThe Adoration of the Magi.
Gentile da Fabriano. Adoration of the Magi.
Domenico Ghirlandaio Adoration of the MagiThe Adoration of the Magi.
Fra Angelico. Annunciation and Adoration of the MagiLinaiuoli Tabernacle: Adoration of the Magi.
Giorgione Adoration of the Magi.
Giotto The Adoration of the MagiThe Epiphany.
Hugo van der Goes Adoration of the Magi.
Leonardo da Vinci  Adoration of the Magi.
Filippino Lippi The Adoration of the Magi,
Fra Filippo Lippi. The Adoration of the Magi.
Masaccio The Adoration of the Magi.
Hans Memling Triptych: The Nativity, The Adoration of the Magi, The Presentation in the Temple.
Pontormo. The Adoration of the Magi.
Raphael Adoration of the Magi.
Peter Paul Rubens Adoration of the Magi.
Martin Schongauer. The Adoration of the Magi.
Diego Velázquez. The Adoration of the Magi.
Rogier van der Weyden Middelburg Altarpiece. Three MagiSt. Columba Altarpiece. Adoration of the Magi.

Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve, according to the Genesis, are the first man and woman, created by God. Their story consists of the following episodes:
The Creation of Adam: God modeled Adam from the dust of the ground and breathed life into him.
SeeMichelangelo The Creation of Adam.
Adam in the Garden of Eden: God planted a garden of Eden; He planted “every kind of tree pleasing to the eye and good for food; and in the middle of the garden He set the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” (Gen.2:8-9) God put Adam into paradise to look after the garden of Eden.
The Creation of Eve: (Gen. 2:21-25) God removed one of Adam’s ribs and created Eve from it. The man said: ‘This one at last is bone from my bones, flesh from my flesh! She shall be called woman, for from man was she taken.’ (Gen. 2:23)
‘That is why a man leaves his father and mother and attaches himself to his wife, and the two become one. Both were naked, the man and his wife, but they had no feeling of shame’ (Gen. 2:24-25).
See: Michelangelo The Creation of Eve.
The Fall: (Gen. 3:1-8) God allowed Adam and Eve to eat from any tree in the garden, except one, the tree of life. The serpent, the most cunning of all the creatures, persuaded Eve to disobey and eat the fruit from the forbidden tree. Eve ate and treated Adam to it.
See: Albrecht Altdorfer The Fall of Man.
Jan Brueghel the Elder. Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
Andrea del CastagnoEve.
Lucas Cranach the Elder Adam and EveAdam and Eve.
Hugo van der Goes The Fall of Adam.
Jan Gossaert. Adam and Eve in Paradise.
Hans Holbein Adam and Eve.
Gustav Klimt. Adam and Eva
Masolino The Temptation of Adam.
Hans Memling Adam and Eve.
Michelangelo The Fall of Man and the Expulsion from the Garden of Eden.
Pontormo. The Fall of Adam and Eve.
Nicolas Poussin The Spring. Adam and Eve in Paradise.
Jan van Scorel. Adam and Eve.
Victor Vasnetsov The Bliss of ParadiseThe Temptation.
Judgment and Condemnation: (Gen. 3:8-24) God condemned the serpent, Adam, and Eve. To the serpent He said:
‘Because you have done this you are cursed of all cattle and the creatures of the wild.’ (Gen. 3:14)
To the woman He said: ‘I shall give you great labor in childbearing; with labour you will bear children. You will desire your husband, but he will be your master.’ (Gen. 3:16)
And to the man he said: ‘Because you have listened to your wife and have eaten from the tree which I forbade you, on your account the earth will be cursed. You will get your food from it only by labour all the days of your life; It will yield thorns and thistles for you. You will eat of the produce of the field, and only by the sweat of your brow will you win your bread
until you return to the earth; for from it you were taken. Dust you are, to dust you will return.’ (Gen. 3:17-19)
Adam and Eve Driven from Paradise: God drove Adam and Eve out of paradise and settled them to the east of the garden of Eden.  He stationed the cherubim to guard the way to the tree of life. (Gen. 3:20-24)
SeeDürer Adam and Eve,  Adam and Eve.
Masaccio The Expulsion from Paradise.
Raphael  Adam and Eve.
Titian Adam and Eve.


Abraham is the first great patriarch of Israel. Christians and Muslims respect him as the personification of human faith in the will of God. Abraham was probably born some 4,000 years ago in the big Babylonian city of Ur. He was a wealthy man, married to Sarah. His story is described in Genesis. For some reason he left his native city with all his household and big herds of animals and traveled through the Middle East in search of a place to settle.
During his migrations at one moment Abraham and Lot, his cousin, separated; Lot stayed in Sodom and Abraham decided to return to Canaan. There was an attack on Sodom, and Lot was captured and his possessions seized. Abraham, on learning about what had happened, armed his men and set off in pursuit. He attacked the looters, released his cousin and captured many goods. On return to Salem (Jerusalem) he was received by Melchizedek, the king and high priest, who blessed Abraham. Abraham in return paid one-tenth of his spoils of victory (Gen. 14:18-24).
See: Peter Paul Rubens The Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek.
Abraham was an old man and had no heir, when his slave woman Hagar gave birth to his first son, Ishmael. Later his wife Sarah gave birth to Isaac. Trying to get rid of Hagar and Ishmael Sarah made Abraham send them off into the desert. But God saved them and Ishmael became the patriarch of the Arab people (Gen. 21:9-21).
The sacrifice of Isaac is an episode from Abraham’s life. To prove his faith, Abraham, on God’s will, prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac. At the last moment the angel of God appeared, seized the faithful Abraham’s sword, and saved his son (Gen. 22:1-19).
See: Caravaggio The Sacrifice of IsaacThe Sacrifice of Isaac.
Aert de Gelder. Abraham and Angels.
Rembrandt. The Angel Stopping Abraham from Sacrificing Isaac to GodAbraham and IsaacAbraham’s Sacrifice.
Russian IconAbraham.

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