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Famous Paintings of God

Updated April 17, 2017

Images of God are powerful, deeply spiritual and meaningful to millions around the world. Often artists depict God as a noble figure, such as a king wearing robes, a crown and sitting on a throne. God also appears in animal form, portrayed as a dove, or in a mysterious image of the human eye. For centuries artists have painted God in many forms to inspire people of different faiths to believe in the power of the creator.

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"Creation of Adam"

Perhaps the most famous painting of God is Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam," which is one section of paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. Commissioned by Pope Julius II, it took four years, 1508 to 1512, to complete the entire ceiling with more than 3,000 figures. The powerful image of a white-bearded God on a cloud, swathed in white robes extends his hand to touch Adam, who rests naked on a cloud in the same position as God; a reminder that man was created in his image. The picture depicts God as he is about to touch Adam, which gives life to the first man on earth. The panel measures 189 inches by 90 inches.

"Ghent Altarpiece"

Jan Van Eyck's "Ghent Altarpiece" depicts the image of God as a king surrounded by saints and holy figures. Art historian Paul Crenshaw cites Van Eyck as among the first painters of his time to use oil paints, blending light and shadows to a mirrorlike appearance. Painted in 1432, the small painting, less than 1 foot by 16 inches, consists of three wood panels. Housed at the Cathedral of Saint Bavo in Ghent, Belgium, God occupies the middle panel wearing red robes and a gold tiara while seated on a throne. The Virgin Mary is on the panel to God's right with John the Baptist on the left panel. At God's feet sits another crown, which represents the change to life on earth. God gives a blessing to a lamb, which was the symbol of Christ's sacrifice.

"Adoration of the Trinity"

The "Adoration of the Trinity" is a renaissance masterpiece painted by one of Germany's most renowned artist, Albrecht Durer, in 1511. Different images of God divide the large piece, 53-1/2-by-48-1/2 inches, into three sections. In the top part, God is seen as a dove with wings spread over Christ on the cross. A God-made is in the middle section. At the bottom section, God wears blue robes and sits on a rainbow with his feet resting on another rainbow. In the Christian faith, a rainbow is the symbol for a bridge between heaven and earth. Among the many biblical figures in the painting are King David, who plays the harp, and John the Baptist.

"A Christian Allegory"

"A Christian Allegory" remains a mystery in Christian art since Flemish artist Jan Provoost left few details explaining the piece. It measures 19-3/4-by-15-1/4 inches, and Provoost painted it during a five-year period from 1510 to 1515. God is depicted as a wide-open eye at the top section surrounded by fog, light and angels. Below the eye and in the centre of the painting is God's hand holding the universe with the image of earth visible. Figures of a lamb, the Virgin Mary and the crucified Christ look up at God's eye. At the bottom of the painting is a smaller eye, which also looks up. A pair of hands reaches up from the smaller eye to God's eye.

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About the Author

Since 1998 Valerie Valdez's articles have appeared in the "Austin Business Journal," "Austin Women" and "Inside Austin." Valdez has enjoyed working in broadcasting for NBC, PBS stations and for the U.S. Army. She earned a Bachelor of Science in radio-TV from the University of Texas and a Master of Arts in theater from Texas State University.

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