Easter reflections on masterworks of Christian art

Though the concept is foreign to many of us today, art was once a pillar of worship. The church, formerly a patron of the arts, sponsored painters to create and then contribute their works to places of worship. While artists honed their craft, the paintings inspired reflection and devotion among the masses, which couldn’t be done without painters first doing the same.

Here are five iconic works from the late 16th and 17th centuries that celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus. In the commentary you’ll discover each artist’s relationship with the crucifixion and hopefully ponder your own. Let these reflections stir your anticipation of the suffering and victory of our Savior this Easter.


Jesus said no one would take His life from Him. Rather, He would lay it down and then take it up again. We see this statement hold true in the Garden of Gethsemane. Read more >


In The Denial of St. Peter, Rembrandt captured a staggering detail in Scripture: At the moment the rooster crowed, Jesus turned and looked at Peter. Read more >

Rembrandt’s The Raising of the Cross (c. 1633) is, among other things, a self-portrait. The artist is the figure in the blue beret and robe near the feet of Jesus. Read more >


We do well to return to the old story of Christ’s death and resurrection again and again. A lot is happening in Peter Paul Ruben’s Christ on the Cross Between the Two Thieves. Read more >

Caravaggio’s The Incredulity of Saint Thomas is a startling painting, which perhaps explains why it is one of his most replicated works. Twenty-two copies are known to exist. Read more >

Related Topics:  Resurrection

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