God looks like a hairy old man while he holds his dying son. It is clearly God because you can see the dove of the Holy Spirit just between them, to complete the Trinity.
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The painting can be seen in the Louvre and is more impressive in reality. Jean Malouel was an important painter in France at that time, protected by the court of Burgundy. Strangely, the painting is more well-known for being the first circular painting tondo than for being one of the first representations of God. However, Jean has two nephews: the Limburg brothers.
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On the first, you can see God quietly chatting in the Garden of Eden. On the second, God is quietly conducting a solar chariot detail on the right. I think the brothers just followed their eminent uncle's example in representing God similarly: a quiet old man with long hair and long white beard.
I don't know how the Pieta was appreciated but the Duke of Berry was extremely happy about the brothers' illuminations. Nonetheless, it is crazy courageous of them to dare depicting God in those times. Detail of Limburg brothers' work below: God quietly leading the sun in the sky. After that, Renaissance in France starts up and the court of Burgundy actively leads it. All images of God will follow the same model with, at its apogee, Michelangelo's well-known painting below.
Yet, all of this does not explain why God is painted that way on the first time. Michelangelo, The Creation of Adam It may be a literal interpretation of the Genesis fragment in which God creates humans at his image and a literal interpretation of the concept of Father. If we are an image of God, God might look like a human, not a holy Cow. If he is a father, he looks like a male human older than Christ. But the official Christian interpretation of the concept of Father is simply a metaphor for the Creator of the universe. And humans as an image of God refers to the essence of humans, not their appearence: God is supposed to have no visual appearence and to be invisible.
Furthermore, representing God as an old wrinkly man an image of weakness could have been regarded as sinful and a misinterpretation of the Bible: it neglects that the Christian God is immortal and powerful. Interestingly, Adam Lewis commented below that it could come from a short description in Daniel , a jewish biblical apocrypha i.
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Maybe you know that Jewish and Christian churches believe in a hierarchy of angels, in which the more powerful the Cherubs and Seraphims, always next to God are systematically depicted as babies. The less powerful angels, like the archangels are usually depicted as older men. So if you follow that logic, God should be shown as younger than a baby Choosing to depict God as a healthy delicate man, he would have been confused with Jesus. A better choice nowadays seems to be a woman: according to a psychology study , the mother conceptual image fits more God's image than the father image.
Personally, I would have gone for a pretty cool cosmic giant turtle with four elephants on its back. Painters received the burden of painting the Invisible God but they did not even try to suggest that invisibility. It is perhaps because we are not sure that God is really invisible. Using transparency seems a satisfying solution to that inconsistency, as do adepts of the Invisible Pink Unicorn in their sacred symbol.
The parody religion mocks religious nonsenses, when God is supposed to be something and its opposite. The Unicorn is then paradoxically pink and invisible.
Finally, how do we know that some painters did not paint God as a tree or an old muddy boot? We can tell that Malouel did represent God in the Pieta because its representation fits our visual expectation of God. In the beginning of the text, I was wondering whether our visual expectations come from paintings and shape our concept of God. It may be simply the opposite, that our simplified concept of God shapes our visual expectations and biases our interpretations of the presence of God in paintings.
PS: if you know older representation of God, please tell me! They shouted to Lot, "Where are the men who came to spend the night with you?
Bring them out to us so we can have sex with them! So Lot stepped outside to talk to them, shutting the door behind him. Look, I have two virgin daughters. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do with them as you wish. But please, leave these men alone, for they are my guests and are under my protection.
We'll treat you far worse than those other men! But the two angels reached out, pulled Lot into the house, and bolted the door. Then they blinded all the men, young and old, who were at the door of the house, so they gave up trying to get inside.
Leviticus "Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin. Leviticus "If a man practices homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman, both men have committed a detestable act. They must both be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense. Judges That evening an old man came home from his work in the fields. He was from the hill country of Ephraim, but he was living in Gibeah, where the people were from the tribe of Benjamin. When he saw the travelers sitting in the town square, he asked them where they were from and where they were going.
I traveled to Bethlehem, and now I'm returning home. But no one has taken us in for the night, even though we have everything we need. We have straw and feed for our donkeys and plenty of bread and wine for ourselves. But whatever you do, don't spend the night in the square. After they washed their feet, they ate and drank together.
While they were enjoying themselves, a crowd of troublemakers from the town surrounded the house. They began beating at the door and shouting to the old man, "Bring out the man who is staying with you so we can have sex with him.
40 Bible Verses About Aging in Grace & Wisdom - Inspiring Scripture Quotes
For I am sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into fellowship with his son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
That is why we are not discouraged. Though outwardly we are wearing out, inwardly we are renewed day by day. Our suffering is light and temporary and is producing for us an eternal glory that is greater than anything we can imagine. Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity. Do you have a verse that really inspires you?
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