History of art's ugliest paintings of Jesus
Painters in the Middle Ages were on a constant quest to find the most appropriate technique to portray religious scenes while highlighting their symbolic meaning and respecting a very strict iconographic style at the same time. Their talent can’t be denied. And yet… many websites and blogs have had some fun listing all the ugliest depictions of Jesus from the period…
Don’t worry, this ugliness is not always unintentional, as the painters of the time did not leave much to chance. You may notice that some babies already seem to have the expression and wrinkles of an old man. In this way, the artists emphasise the wisdom of Jesus Christ, the wisdom he got from God.
This was the concept of the homunculus, which means a small man. It was a man to whom the sorcerers claimed to be able to give life. At that time, Jesus was depicted as an old man because his body had to be perfectly formed at birth and should not change during his life. The painters were not oriented towards realism, but towards symbolism.
At the end of the mediaeval era, Italian painters increasingly took their inspiration from reality and began to depict infants in a more naturalistic way.
So we have put together a selection of the ugliest children in the history of art.
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