Religious Art

11,291 artworks, 1,613 artists
Religious scenes in painting depict the subjects and characters from the Christian Holy Scriptures, sacred texts of Jews, Buddhists and other religions. Such pictures contain clear moral and emotional messages. The genre is distinguished by its close connection with religious rites, belief in higher powers and symbolism. The popularity of such works directly depends on the role of the church and religion in society. 

The first artworks with religious scenes appeared in ancient times, when images of gods and rituals were used to decorate temples and strengthen the faith. In Egypt, Ancient Greece and Rome, fine arts served the ruler, and the main subject of the works was the Pharaoh or Caesar as the embodiment of God on earth. At the beginning of the 2nd century A.D., the era of Christian art began. Painting and sculpture combined the elements of Greek and Roman cultures to have found the embodiment in icon painting and frescoes. Kyiv, Novgorod, Paris, Florence, Ireland and Flanders were the centres for the development of biblical art. In the 19th century, religious subjects lost their popularity as historical and genre painting came to replace them. 

Icon painting has become a separate area of visualization of the Holy Scripture. In the works of this genre, saints, martyrs and stories from the Bible and the Gospel came to life. Local schools of icon painting with specific stylistic features and author’s techniques arose in the cities. Religious scenes were central to the icons. The image was distinguished by linear flat execution, thin elongated figures, loss of naturalism of the subjects.

Religious scenes prevail in painting and graphics, but they also coexist with other painting genres: landscape, still life, and literary scenes. The types of the images and techniques depend on the era and style the artist worked within. Religious scenes can be often seen on the canvases and frescoes of the Renaissance artists, in the atmospheric interiors of the Dutch Baroque, against the backdrop of the vivid and emotional landscapes of Mannerism and Romanticism.

Famous paintings with religious scenes:
Madonna of the Pomegranate” 1481, “Three Temptations of Christ” 1482 by Sandro Botticelli; “The Sacrifice of Abraham” 1635, “The Holy Family” 1645 by Rembrandt van Rijn; “The Flagellation of Christ” 1880, “Holy Women at the Sepulcher” 1890 by William Bouguereau.

Famus artists who painted religious scenes:
Michelangelo Buonarroti, Raffaello Sanzio, Sandro Botticelli, Hieronymus Bosch, Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Peter Paul Rubens, William Bouguereau, Ivan Kramskoy.

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