Art History

Art Reflections

Da Vinci’s Religious Works

Da Vinci’s religious works are some of the best-known pieces of Renaissance art. Many of his commissioned pieces were churches or altars, even though he never proclaimed himself to be a deeply religious man. Many of his religious works are still highly admired and valued centuries after he created them. Perhaps you can find spiritual inspiration in one of these beautiful paintings by this great artist.

Leonardo da Vinci - The Last Supper - Da Vinci's Religious Works

Leonardo da Vinci – The Last Supper

The Last Supper is meant to depict the last supper Jesus shared with his Apostles. It captures the moment when he tells them that one of them will betray him. The detail Da Vinci gives to each of their reactions is spectacular, from shock to dismay and even confusion. It was painted as part of church renovation on behalf of one of his patrons. Due to environmental factors, very little of the original mural can be seen, but this beautiful reproduction gives the piece a long-lasting life in your own home.

Leonardo da Vinci - St John the Baptist, c.1513-1516 - Da Vinci's Religious Works

Leonardo da Vinci – St. John the Baptist

St. John the Baptist was one of the last done by the famous artist and was still in his possession when he died. It shows St. John in soft tones and with androgynous features, surrounded by the shadows. He is also smiling in a mysteriously inviting way that is similar to Da Vinci’s most famous piece, the Mona Lisa. Traditionally St. John had been portrayed as gaunt and deprived, to reflect the sacrifice a man in his position must make. Da Vinci chose to show him as robust and soft instead, making it a stark contrast at the time.

Leonardo da Vinci - Salvator Mundi - Da Vinci's Religious Works

Leonardo da Vinci – Salvator Mundi

Salvator Mundi by Da Vinci was a piece originally painted on wood with oil paint. In the image, Christ appears to be delivering a blessing while holding an orb that could represent earth in his other hand. The title when translated from Latin means Savior of the World. It is the only known paintings by Da Vinci to be kept in a private collection. In 2021 the painting is still popular enough to have a musical and a book being created about its history.

Leonardo da Vinci - Virgin of the Rocks (Louvre detail with child) - Da Vinci's Religious Works

Leonardo da Vinci – Virgin of the Rocks

The Virgin of the Rocks is a beautiful example of how skilled the artist was at creating detailed portraits. The original piece hangs as part of a larger work in the Louvre. The overall piece includes Madonna with baby, John the Baptist, and an angel against the rocky background. Here we have decided to focus on only one detail to give it an enhanced perspective.

Da Vinci - The Virgin and Child with St. Anne - Da Vinci's Religious Works

Leonardo da Vinci – The Virgin and Child with St. Anne

Da Vinci’s The Virgin and Child with St. Anne is an unfinished painting that depicts St. Anne, her daughter the Virgin Mary, and Baby Jesus. The composition of how the figures are positioned doesn’t have a clear significance, though it has been suggested that it is meant to reflect the difference in personalities from one generation to the next. This is a piece that most people find both enjoyable to watch and gives off a calming presence.

If this list has not helped you to find the piece of religious art that meets what you are looking for, feel free to browse our Renaissance art gallery for more inspiration. There you will find works from some of the greatest artists in addition to Da Vinci’s religious works, such as Botticelli and Michelangelo. There are a wide variety of scenes with biblical figures or stories. We are sure you will find just the right piece for your home.

About the Author

Amanda graduated from the University of Kansas, where she studied English literature and got a masters degree in library sciences. She enjoys reading, cooking and playing with her nephews. Her best friend is her little dog Brady.