The Famous One - (Zachery Leopold)

Jesus Christ tops every list of the most significant figures in human history.  This gallery features a collection of oil paintings from various artists and within multiple time periods, showcasing different artists' representations of perhaps, the most famous person in history.  The gallery includes images of Christ in portrait, full-body, and child form and features different portrayals including, physique, skin color, and age.  These different paintings give a glimpse into how people, throughout the ages since Christ,  have imagined him to look and what they perceived his character to be like. 

"Head of Christ" depicts, just as the title states, a portrait of Christ wearing a crown of thorns. His face is somber as he stares past the viewer. Christ's facial features appear soft and subtle in contrast to to the jagged, sharp thorns crowning his head. His skin tone is very fair, only slightly darker than his clothing and the background. Correggio, in the way he represents Christ, seems to imagine him as a gentle person, due to the soft, white skin, and one who was constantly aware of his suffering because of the thorny crown.
This portrait, also titled "Head of Christ", depicts Christ with a contemplative expression, in a slightly hunched over posture, looking towards the ground. The similar colors used for Christ's clothing and the background, emphasizes his face and forces the viewer's attention and focus to the center of the piece where his head is made to be the most important feature. His face is probably fairly accurate to the face of an average Jew in Jesus' time. He appears to almost be daydreaming, or in deep thought, waiting for someone to bring his attention back to reality. Rembrant chose to portray Christ in a realistic manner and possibly imagined him to be one who contemplates on profound things.
"Christ Blessing" features Christ, gazing directly at the viewer, with his hand raised in front of him in a position of blessing. The shape of Christ's face is elongated, emphasizing his long nose and cheeks. The color of his skin is very light and along with the white around his head, signifies his divinity. The halo is subtle compared to many other renderings of Christ. El Greco maintains a realistic look in this portrait while still including the halo. His face is rigid, lacking any expression and even has a sense of seriousness. El Greco accurately portrays Christ as a divine being, who with all seriousness, aims to bless the world, as the title implies.
"Christ" depicts only the head of Christ, seemingly unfinished, looking past the viewer in a glazed and almost absent expression. The use of color on the right side of Christ's face emphasizes the shadow being cast from his nose and is in stark contrast to the illuminated side. As the eyes move towards the extremities of Christ's head, realism is lost and a lack of definition is seen in the brush strokes. As a result, the viewer is guided back towards the eyes and nose, where the most detail is used. Again, as with Rembrandt, the face of Christ is very similar to that of a man with middle-eastern heritage. Mednyanszky offers an impressionistic rendering of Christ, not meant to be a flawless photo-like representation. Because of the lack of definition, his aim seems to be to portray Christ simply, yet with enough detail to depict who it is.
"Dead Christ and Angels" depicts two angels tending to Christ's dead body. One angel is holding the head and one arm of Jesus on his lap. The other angel is seen at Christ's feet wiping away tears with a cloth that is wrapped around one of Jesus' feet. Christ is the emphasis of the piece as his body is stretched across almost the entire canvas. His body has no wounds or blood. In fact, it is flawless and quite muscular; strange for having just been crucified. The painting is symmetrically balanced by angels on either side of Jesus, positioned above him and below him. Bordon aims to show the divine and perfect aspect of Jesus' nature with the use of his immaculate body and angels who come to aide his lifeless form.
"The Entombment of Christ" depicts the dead body of Christ being carried and placed in a tomb by two men; Joseph of Arimathea, who is supporting his upper body and Nicodemus, who is holding his legs. Christ's mother, Mary, is also seen inspecting the holes in his feet. The painting uses high contrast of light and dark to emphasize the body of Christ. Aside from a few highlights on the heads of Joseph, Nicodemus, and Mary, the majority of the light in the painting is reserved for Christ. Physical damage to Christ's body can be seen including holes in his hands and feet as well blood and bruising on his head. His head remains in a shadow, limiting how much of the injuries can be seen. Giordano displays Christ in a way that is more realistic for having just been crucified. He shows the wounds and trauma to Christ's head. At the same time he is sensitive to the divinity of Christ by not highlighting his wounds and letting them remain in the shadows.
"Christ on the Sea of Galilee" depicts nine men on a small boat in the midst of a raging sea. In spite of the chaos Christ is seen peacefully sleeping, supporting his head with his arm against the side of the vessel. Christ's face is, by far, the most detailed and is meant to be the emphasis of the piece. All the other faces that are visible are composed of a few shadows and highlights. Christ is also the brightest figure in the painting. The white used is highly contrasted to his surrounding, perhaps alluding to his divinity, while all the other people are mostly earth tones. Delacroix, as most other painters who have depicted Christ, emphasizes Christ divinity by use of color. The detail of Christ's face makes him the center point of the painting.
"Christ in the Wilderness" depicts Christ, sitting on a rock in a vast wilderness with his hands folded in prayer. The rocks showcase amazing attention to detail, utilizing repetitious patterns. Christ's eyes are sunken in. His hands and feet are skin and bones, suggesting that he had been fasting for a very long time. Christ's figure represents the majority of the color. Being completely centered in the painting draws the emphasis to himself. There is a reflective balance in the piece. The rocks and sky offset each other at an angle while Christ remains centered and in the forefront. Kramskoy accurately represents a man who has been fasting for a long period of time. He does not withhold a realistic rendering of Christ because of his divinity or because of popular opinion.
"The Infant Christ Bearing the Instruments of the Passion" depicts a young boy whose head is surrounded by a golden burst halo. He is carrying a cross and spear on his shoulder and is holding a basket in his other hand. Christ is leaning forward and his heals are lifted giving the illusion of movement. His eyes are looking down and he has a somber look about him. The halo surrounding his head takes up a significant amount of space in the painting. He is walking along a path of flowers. The unknown artist responsible for this painting intends to show a young Christ who is fully aware of the suffering before him. His divinity is blatantly apparent and he walks the path to the cross with grace.
"Christ in the House of His Parents" depicts a young Jesus in his parents carpentry shop. He has just cut himself and a girl comforts him as Joseph looks at the wound and others look up from their work. The entire painting is in unity. All the parts of the shop, from the tools behind the bench, the stacks of wood, and the wood shavings on the floor, all flow and fit together perfectly. The texture used to achieve the detail in Josephs arms, the work bench, and in multiple other items is outstanding. The symbolism is very apparent in this piece. The young Christ has cut his hand and the blood is dripping onto his foot; along with the nails represent his crucifixion. Unlike any other person, he is dressed in all white, alluding to his divinity. Millais aims to show an ordinary family, working together. In the midst of a normal day and a minor accident, Millais has impressed the suffering and divinity of Christ upon the viewer.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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