Jesus in modern movies and artworks

Jesus and Mary in modern movies and artworks   

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Icon of Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ

Mary and the angel Gabriel

Annunciation

Birth of Jesus

Finding the Saviour in the Temple, William Hunt, detail

Jesus' family

Photograph by Michael Belk

Jesus and children

Mary Magdalene sculpture

Mary Magdalene

Christ in the house of Martha and Mary, by Velázquez

Martha & Mary

Mary of Nazareth

Mary of Nazareth

Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, Flandrin

Entry to Jerusalem

Jesus and the money changers

Jesus & the money-changers

Painting, Last Supper, Joos van Cleve

The Last Supper

Agony in the Garden, Heinrich, Gethsemane

Agony in the Garden

Spanish wood carving, The Kiss of Judas

Betrayal by Judas

Passion of Christ, Cranach

The Passion

Ecce Homo, by Quintin Massys

Jesus before Pilate

Crucifixion, Francis Bacon

Crucifixion

Jesus taken down from the cross, painting detail

Descent from the cross

Burial of Jesus

Painting of the resurrected Christ

Resurrection

Fra Angelico, angel from painting of the Annunciation

Angels

Yul Brynner as Pharaoh in the movie 'Moses'

For previews, images and reviews of some famous Bible movies, see Famous Bible movies 


 


 


 


Find out more

The young girl Mary as portrayed in a movie

Mary of Nazareth 
An extraordinary woman

Map of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus

Maps
Nazareth & Jerusalem

Joseph and the angel/message from God

An 'Angel'
What does that mean?

Interior of a mud brick house

Buildings 
that Jesus knew

Herod the Great as portrayed in the TV series 'Rome'

Evil men in the gospels
Herod, Pilate, Judas

 

People  often think of Jesus as serene and admired by all. This was not so. Jesus was challenging, and he was hated by many upper-class leaders. Modern movies and artworks try to give a balanced view of Jesus, showing him as wise, strong, and unflinchingly courageous, but also controversial.


'Ben Hur'

 

'Ben Hur'

In 'Ben Hur', Christ's figure is shown, but never his face

 


 

Jesus as portrayed in Pasolini's 'The Gospel According to Matthew'

In Pasolini's 'The Gospel According to Matthew', Christ is short, energetic, dynamic


'The Greatest Story Ever Told' has Christ as an other-worldly figure

'The Greatest Story Ever Told' has Christ as an other-worldly figure, part human, part divine

 


'Jesus of Montreal'

'Jesus of Montreal' partly succeeds in portraying a Jesus who is integrated with the modern world


Mel Gibson's 'The Passion of the Christ'

Jesus at the Last Supper

Mel Gibson's 'The Passion of the Christ'

Pontius Pilate presents Jesus to the crowd

Two stills from Mel Gibson's 'The Passion of the Christ'


Photograph by Michael Belk

What a wonderful photograph by Michael Belk: 
walk with Jesus, let him help you, and he will lighten your load.

 

Michael Belk, 'Journeys with the Messiah: The Second Mile'

Michael Belk, 'Journeys with the Messiah: The Second Mile'

The photographer Michael Belk has departed from tradition by showing an informal Jesus who laughs, argues, talks one-to-one. This is a major innovation, and a welcome one. Try to think of past paintings or images that show Jesus laughing - they are rare, if they exist at all.

Michael Belk, 'Journeys with the Messiah: Gone Astray'

Michael Belk, 'Journeys with the Messiah: Gone Astray'

Prints of these three photographs are available at 

Michael Belk's website: Journeys with the Messiah

 


Some modern images of Mary of Nazareth

 

Mary of Nazareth in 'The Passion of the Christ'

Mary of Nazareth in 'The Passion of the Christ'

Mary of Nazareth in 'The Passion of the Christ'

Very few images of Mary show the lines and wrinkles of an aging Jewish peasant woman. Later sequences in the movie 'The Passion of the Christ' (see above) capture the mature Mary.


 

Statue of Mary by David Wynne, Ely Cathedral

Statue of Mary by David Wynne, Ely Cathedral

Here is a figure full of energy: hands, feet and hair all suggest movement. This is a vigorous, beautiful  Mary, hands raised to heaven, feet stepping into the future.


Our Lady of the Angels, Robert Graham

An other-worldly statue of Mary by Robert Graham 
at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles

The cathedral website describes the statue thus:

'The ornamental space above the pair of bronze doors contains the 8 foot image of Our Lady of the Angels. The modern figure is presented as a woman “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet” (Revelations 12:1). The halo shaft above her head shines God’s light on her as the sun travels from east to west.
Mary does not wear the traditional veil. Her arms are bare, outstretched to welcome all. Her carriage is confident, and her hands are strong, the hands of a working woman.
From the side can be seen a thick braid of hair down her back that summons thoughts of Native American or Latina women. Other characteristics, such as her eyes, lips and nose convey Asian, African and Caucasian features. Without the conventional regal trappings of jewels, crown or layers of clothing, she has a dignity that shines from within.'

Detail of Robert Graham's statue of Mary


Mary in Franco Zeffirelli's film 'Jesus of Nazareth'

Mary in Franco Zeffirelli's film 'Jesus of Nazareth'


Our Lady of the Southern Cross, by Paul Newton

Our Lady of the Southern Cross, by Paul Newton

This painting adapts itself to the Southern Hemisphere: the landscape behind Mary 
is the Australian outback, and the constellation in the upper right corner is the Southern Cross


 

'Kissing the Face of God', by Morgan Weistling

'Kissing the Face of God', by Morgan Weistling

 


The Annunciation, by John Collier

The Annunciation, by John Collier

And now for something completely different: Mary as a schoolgirl in sneakers, startled as well she might be by the appearance of an angel on her doorstep. Only the lilies and the angel's wings tell us 
what is going on: the Annunciation!


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Bible Art: Modern Paintings, Photographs and Films showing Jesus of Nazareth and his mother Mary

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Copyright 2012 Elizabeth Fletcher