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Images of Christ: Variations and Themes

Art-full Friday, Live from Tuscany

Afternoon Lecture/Seminar

Friday, March 29, 2024 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1D0043
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This online program is presented on Zoom.
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Depiction of Jesus on the ceiling of the Florence Baptistery di San Giovanni (detail)

Jesus Christ is an instantly recognizable figure, perhaps the most frequently depicted in all Western art. He is typically presented with long hair and a beard, dressed in flowing robes with long sleeves and a mantle. His image is so ubiquitous that it can even be spotted on pancakes or slices of toast. Yet much of what we understand about Jesus' appearance is a result of artistic tradition.

Since scripture does not provide a description of what Christ looked like, painters and mosaic-makers would often resort to the artistic canons of their time to create a visual image of the Nazarene. This fascinating process provides valuable insights into the diverse iconographic styles of early Christianity, as different places and people contributed to the evolving depictions of Jesus.

Renaissance art historian Elaine Ruffolo delves into some of the most impactful portrayals of Christ, uncovering how the social, political, and religious contexts directly shaped the iconic image we recognize today.

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*

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General Information

*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.