Catholic holy pictures make me cringe

I apologize up front. I am not trying offend anyone - seriously. It would have insulted my long dead and very saintly Nan for me to express this opinion to her.:blush:

I was brought up in a very Catholic family: statues of Mary crushing the serpents head, pictures of the Madonna, the Last Supper and the Pope on the wall, Holy cards in Bibles. The colour blue is the most prominent colour in all of them.

I used to be embarrassed when people came to our house. The statues were all in windows so all our C of E neighbours could see them.

I hate them! The pictures of Christ look emasculated, wimpy, feminine. I won’t comment on the pics of Mary because I know people will be insulted.

It’s my guilty secret. I feel bad about it. Truly!:blush::blush::blush:

I have no religious pictures up - except for the “cartoon” by Leonardo of Mary and Elizabeth with Jesus and John the Baptist as infants (but it’s mainly brown and doesn’t look like a “holy” picture).

I long for pictures of Christ that I can put up, or Mary.

Am I the only one?

Can anyone recommend religious art I might like?

Here’s a portrayal of Jesus that attempts to be historically accurate:

It would help if you gave more criteria.

I hear you. Many of the pictures depicting the Sacred Heart, e.g., make me cringe, too. Fortunately I was able to obtain many years ago a copy of a painting by the Mexican artist Jose Maria Ibarraran y Ponce (you can see it at the link below). You might find some iconography more spiritually satisfying.

I have a different problem. Holy pictures always seem to change features when I look at them. Sometimes even “laughing” at me and it’s always on a difficult day it seems.

I have a close up of the face of Our Lady of Guadalupe that, I assure you, is not at all sugery or sentimental. Rather, it’s meditative and lovely. I have this depiction of the Sacred Heart, entitled, in Latin: “For God so loved the world”. There’s nothing wimpy or effeminite in that face. Also, there is this: the Face of Jesus derived from the Shroud of Turin. I find it quite compelling.

I know it’s been 2,000 years, but Jews today as a race, have black hair and dark brown eyes.

Consider the holy pictures of Mary (blonde hair). Jesus with light brown hair.

In addition to searching for art that speaks to you, you also might search in yourself and decide why you’re bothered by depictions of Christ with feminine aspects.

If you’re looking for icons and other religious art, you might try Trinity Store. We own a number of items from them, and they’re of quite high quality.


So, you’re saying you don’t want a 6 foot portrait of Jesus done on black velvet? :slight_smile:

Perhaps you’d be better off with a small plaque or similar item that could stand on a bookshelf or a cross for your wall instead of a “portrait”.

One site to check out.

One of our priests pointed out the same thing about images of Jesus in the Church.The gasp from some ladies and a few who dropped their rosary beads was really funny! But He was right! He then explained the Carpentry work Jesus would have been doing-particularly making yokes for oxen. Not something for a wimpy guy!

Thanks for the replies so far! I haven’t been flamed yet!:coolinoff:

@Luna Lovecraft

Good question: It’s got deep theological overtones! Christ is fully man, but He also represents women. Gotta think about that one.

The artists that depicted Jesus with soft features and a docile pose were trying, through art, to show what he himself said about himself: “Follow me for I am meek and humble of heart.” We moderns wouldn’t depict him as they did, but then we don’t value meekness or humility as we ought to, either. It’s difficult to paint a person who is fully human and fully divine, or one who was the examplar of all the virtues, like Mary. I think we have to give them some slack and realize they were painting for a generation with different sensibilities from ours. :slight_smile:

Good points Della.

I’m glad I asked - I’m getting good insights

It’s amazing how close the Shroud of Turin face is to the old Icons of Christ. I remember reading that this close resemblance may not have been a coincidence.

Citing this article for the Icon pictures in it:

Only you may choose what you want. The feeling was the same of some too sweet images that did not speak to me.
I did not hate though. They are tender to me for they were loved by the persons I loved. So, I could never hate them.
My wife is pretty sober. When in Lourdes, France, we were seeing an exposition of the Holy Shroud. And me, who have done a lot of research on the Holy Shroud and explained it to the family. All of a sudden, I heard my pretty cool wife say: “I would follow This Man to the end of the world!” I turned around and this is the picture she was seeing:

I have felt the same way, I once saw a picture of Mary hanging laundry, with the Baby Jesus playing by her side. I thought that was lovely. But her crushing serpent heads…not something I would want displayed. It sounds like you had a lovely Nan.

In almost every Irish house, there is a creepy holy statue with the head broken off. Why is the head broken off? No idea, seems to be the weak spot in whatever batch all of our grannies bought! Why keep a headless holy statue? Well, it’s a holy statue so you can’t be throwing it out!! :slight_smile:

I totally get what you mean. For the second time this week, I’m recommending on this site that someone tries this for some catholic art:

The pictures are beautiful, reverent and modern. They’re really simple but moving. The artists reflections are great too. I hope you enjoy!

Off topic, for which I’m sorry, but this picture made me go :love:. Very shallow, but yeah… wow!

Oh… I know what you mean…


-Just ew…

-C’mon now… Jesus wasn’t that feminine…

… on a more serious note. :wink: I understand. I used to find a lot of it just… ugh… but what is beautiful to one person isn’t to another. Beauty is subjective. So we have all of this art. Some of it you might find beautiful, some of it you might not… but there’s enough out there that you can find the art that speaks to you and uplifts your heart to God at the same time.

On a side note, I was always disturbed by the bent crucifix that the Pope sometimes carries… These days I don’t mind it but it used to really weird me out!

I know it’s your opinion and you’re welcome to it–but talk about cringing–I am upset in learning a person can feel “hate” towards holy religious articles, save those who reject Christian beliefs and tradition altogether.

I don’t like insipid portrayals of Jesus either. But truly great holy art—well, if I am still Catholic it’s because of pictures by Rembrandt, Giotto, Fra Angelico and their ilk. I could look at them all day. They lift my mind and heart to God.

You can easily find not only reproductions to hang but many many images online, or for your smartphone.

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