Picture of Jesus - Untruth

Why do many denominations have portraits and paintings of Jesus in the church as if it’s the actual one? We know Jesus couldn’t have had long hair. Also why is Jesus portrayed as such a handsome person? Not that it is bad, but it is not the truth.
So when you kneel down and pray in front of a random picture, aren’t you engaging in idolatry?

Of course not. You’re not praying to the picture, you’re praying to the Person represented by the picture.


But, the picture is just a random person having no resemblance to Jesus.

The Shroud of Turin shows Jesus as having long hair. In all likelihood He would have followed the Jewish laws of the Old Testament, such as not rounding the corners of one’s beard (and which can still be seen today in the payess worn by many Orthodox Jewish men).

We do not know exactly what Jesus looked like. All Christian cultures have portrayed Jesus as looking like what their ideal of a handsome, majestic man would be. Again, the Shroud of Turin, assuming it is authentic, gives us a good idea of His actual physical appearance.


A helpful article on this:
The point of art concerning Jesus is not necessarily to capture what He specifically looked like, but more-so who He is represented as, e.g. as a handsome person because God is the source of all beauty.
I’m sure they must have SOME resemblance to Jesus. Furthermore, if you kneel down and pray in front of a cross, you neither commit idolatry, so long as you don’t pray to the cross itself, but rather God. And it doesn’t suggest we think God looks like a cross. He does not. Do you see what I’m getting at?

I also think the Shroud of Turin is rather accurate, and there are a number of pictures of Jesus that somewhat resemble it.


Translating Jesus artistically and conceptually so an image will represent him to an audience is no more untrue than translating “Yeshua” or “Iesous” from Hebrew and Greek into “Jesus.”



A man with shoulder-length hair wouldn’t have been uncommon among 1st century Jews. What’s more, the text you are going to refer to about Paul condemning men for wearing long hair like women, he is referring to how women grew their hair long below their waist and even to their feet. As for the prophecy of Isaiah 53 where it speaks of the messiah having “no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. “ Isaiah is referring to the suffering messiah, whose appearance was disfigured after the scourging and beatings he would endure.


For me I have no concern that the usual picture of Christ that we are all familiar with bears actual presentation of Him.

Whether he had long or short hair, or a purple birthmark on his cheek is immaterial. What I like about that picture is that the artist captured a look in his eyes that universally expresses love and understanding.


So what? We don’t know whether any picture we have resembles Him. What does that have to do with anything?


Jesus has appeared to the Catholic Saints, and he’s described as having shoulder length hair and a beard. But this is also the case with NDEs. But the Shroud of Turin says it all.


Through computer reconstruction from the Shroud, we may have a good image of Jesus:


How do we know this?

How do we know this?

Only if we are worshipping paper and canvas and paint and ink.


As long as it’s not blasphemous I don’t care how He is represented or what He looks like.

edited because I forgot something and forgot to capitalize “He”

Why not?

Do you think it goes too far when He’s represented as blonde with blue eyes?


Are you referring to the verse about Saint Paul talking about having long hair? Okay, I feel compelled to point out that during Jesus’s time, shoulder length hair would not have been considered long. Paul is writing to the Corinthians, and the Corinthians would grow their hair past their waist. My shoulder length hair, which I have out of respect for my Heritage, would not have been considered long during that time. I honestly don’t care if Jesus had long hair or not, that is a religious question that I do not consider important


Our current images depict Jesus as a 13th century Florentine nobleman. That’s one of the reasons for believing that the picture on the Turin shroud dates back to the 13th century. The older image used in Eastern iconography also shows him with long hair and a beard, but arranged differently to the Western image. The earliest images of Jesus came from Galatia and showed him short haired and clean shaven as was the fashion at the time.

We don’t know what Jesus looked like. 1st century Jewish culture forbade images of people. All we have comes to us from later art.

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You see this a lot with renderings of many historical figures. Late Medieval and Early Renaissance artists would portray Roman emperors as looking rather like, well, Late medieval or Early Renaissance kings and noblemen. Realistic portrayals became a far bigger thing later in the Renaissance, though by that point, at least in the West, the notion of the adult Jesus with long hair and beard was completely entrenched.

Let’s remember that in Roman world in the First Century, being clean shaven with a short hair cut was pretty much the fashion norm. Now whether Jesus would have adhered to that is hard to say. As a Middle Eastern holy man, he may have had a beard and long hair. The earliest portrayals seem to indicate the norm for the Roman world, but again, that may simple have been an artist drawing Jesus in the artist’s own cultural sensibility, as later artists did as well.

I have never heard of anyone claiming any portrait or painting was the actual image of Jesus. Can you give me an example of an individual or church claiming that they have a true likeness of Jesus in their possession?


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and true beauty involves the soul.

As for the externals, are you taking into consideration the transformation that took place after His glorification?

Idolatry consists in divinizing what is not God. Man commits idolatry whenever he honors and reveres a creature in place of God (CCC 2113).

Christian iconography expresses in images the same Gospel message that Scripture communicates by words. Image and word illuminate each other. (CCC 1160).

This issue came up, was discussed extensively, and was resolved in 787 AD at the Seventh Council of Nicaea.

The veneration of icons (of Christ, but also of the Mother of God, the angels, and all the saints) is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols.

“The honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype,” and “whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it.”

The honor paid to sacred images is a “respectful veneration,” not the adoration due to God alone: religious worship is not directed to images in themselves, considered as mere things, but under their distinctive aspect as images leading us on to God incarnate. The movement toward the image does not terminate in it as image, but tends toward that whose image it is. (CCC 2131-2132)

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