Art & Decor Trends

Art History


Influence of Art and Religion

As the Easter holiday approaches, it is evident that this year will not be the same as those before. Due to changes in the world, those who celebrate this traditionally Christian holiday will not be able to gather and celebrate in large groups. Instead, families will have to find a way to show their appreciation for this holiday at home. We have gathered ten of our most beloved religious paintings, to give you an idea of what you can add to your space to bring some of that religious joy home.

Leonardo da Vinci – The Last Supper

The Last Supper, also known as Il Cenacolo or L’Ultima Cena, is one of Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous works. As most people know, it is a depiction of Jesus and his twelve apostles as told in the Gospel of John. The painting shows how the apostles reacted to the news that eventually one of them would betray him. Da Vinci used bright colors and fine details to create a complex scene that captures so much of the story of Christ’s last meal.

Juan de Juanes – The Last Supper

This version of The Last Supper, originally painted in 1562, is another classical style painting of the same scene but with a different interpretation. Juanes’s unique style includes clear, luminous tones and softer effects of modeling, but displays less technical detail in finishing. He painted many religious subjects, along with mythological stories and portraits. (a portrait would also be a work. Maybe instead…., as well as mythological pieces.) In this scene, he is depicted his own retelling of the last supper, with Jesus and his disciples.

Leonardo Da Vinci – Salvator Mundi

Salvator Mundi, which in latin means Savior of the World, was originally painted with oil on walnut, however no one is quite sure when it was painted. Christ is depicted with his right hand raised as if he is delivering a blessing and in his left hand holding an orb thought to symbolize Earth. This masterpiece is beloved all over the world and your guests will be in awe of the calm and serene expression on Christ’s face as he gazes out into the room.

Rembrandt – Return of the Prodigal Son

Return of the Prodigal Son is a striking rendition of the classic biblical parable about a son who leaves with all of his father’s wealth and returns poor, to be embraced forgivingly by his father. Although it was created during the Dutch Golden age, Rembrandt’s style leaned more towards Baroque. The painter used the contrast of darkness and light, to focus the audience’s attention on the characters that create the story.

Rosso Fiorentino – Musical Angel

The scene from Rosso Fiorentino’s Musical Angel includes a solitary angel plucking an oversized mandolin against a black background. The angel’s fiery red hair, wings and bright hues contradicts its impassive expression. Fiorentino pioneered the Mannerism movement, known for exaggerating qualities such as proportion and balance. That is evident in the way the mandolin occupies more of the space than the sweet cherub. Let this piece bring music and peace into your home.

Diego Velázquez – Christ on the Cross

Christ on the Cross. could be considered one of the most iconic images in the history of Christian based religion. Diego Velazquez depicts an integral part of the Easter story, the image of Christ being crucified has been captured in every artform. Created by one of the masters of the Spanish Golden age who often utilized a religious motif, this version captures the anguish and suffering of Christ in painstaking detail.

Botticelli – Madonna of the Book

The Madonna of the Book is a small painting by the Italian Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli. It was painted on a wooden panel and depicts the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus while reading the Book of Hours. The scene holds many details that symbolize moments to come in the life of Christ, such as the faint nails in the child’s hand, (just looked at the painting and there are no nails. Should we remove this) as well as symbols with various meanings. Botticelli chose each item, color and placement very carefully to give as much impact to the audience as possible.

Michelangelo – Creation of Adam

This painting captures the moment God breathes life into Adam, the first man. Fourth in the series of panels depicting episodes from the Bible, it is the most well-known of his fresco panels. It can be found on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Italy, a building considered to be a holy icon by the Catholic Church. (is the church or the painting the holy icon?) Although this painting has been restored numerous times, cracks still show adding to the authenticity of its historic significance.

Raphael – Madonna Sixtina (cherub detail)

This scene is only a detailed portion of the full painting done by Raphael of the Madonna di San Sisto. The full painting was one of the last Madonnas painted by the artist and was commissioned by Pope Julius II in the 1500s. In this piece, we have chosen to focus on one of the sweet-faced cherubs found at the bottom of the original. He casually lays his head in his hands, appearing without a care in the world. That expression can give an audience peace and serenity.

Michelangelo da Caravaggio – Judith Beheading Holofernes

Judith Beheading Holofernes is a painting of the biblical story about the widow Judith removing the head of a Syrian general. Caravaggio’s paintings, which combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, had a formative influence on Baroque painting. This character is often seen as a symbol of triumph and Caravaggio captures her in such a dramatic and breathtaking manner.

This is only a small sampling of the amazing works of religious art offered on Please feel free to browse our Classical art gallery to find more inspiration. We are sure you will find something that makes your soul sing.


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.