Is it true that we do not know what Jesus look like?

According to my Art History teacher, she says that we do not know what face of Jesus Christ looks like. Throughout centuries the pictures of him have change. The picture we’re familar with is just something we can associate a face of Jesus with. In that case, Jesus doesn’t have to be the long-haired beard man, right? He could’ve look totally different right?

From this article on what Jesus most likely looked like:

The traditional blond-haired blue-eyed white Jesus is pretty doubtful, I have to say.

Yes, it’s true.

Does it matter?

I have read elsewhere, and offer here without the slightest implication of authority, that Muhammed speaks in the Quran of seeing Jesus. He describes him as being tall, with lank dark hair, and freckles. This last may be suspect, given that such are universally regarded as signifcant of the highest order of excellence.

Mohammed must have seen him in a vision then, because he came over 500 years after Jesus. The article from Ino is probably closer to the mark than any other works of art, or movies showing the long haired blue eyed version which is popular for the West. This article took a skull of an Israeli man from about the first century. You’ll never see this version in movies though, because who wants to see a 5’1” 110 lb man representing the Son of God? There really isn’t much we know about him, not just his looks. Some scholars even argue whether or not a historical Jesus even existed around this time, although it’s still a minority view. No one knows when he was born, no one knows his last name, no one knows when he died. No one can say with any degree of certainty whether he died on a cross, stake or hung from a tree, or that he was even crucified by Pilate. Do a google search engine and you will get dozens of dates suggesting an approximate date of birth. Date of death is equally obscure. How he died is also debatable. So determining what he looked like isn’t the only thing we don’t know about him. I guess you need a lot of faith to sort it all out.


Blond-haired? Blue-eyed?


To me, most “portraits” of Christ reflect the norm or the ideal of the place and time of the artist.

I seriously doubt he looked like the emaciated drug addict on velvet that you see at garage sales.

But, without Father Guido Sarducci’s Polaroid taken at The Last Supper, how can anything be concluded from speculation?

I like the idea of trying to figure out what the average male of Jewish lineage in the First Century looked like. So, if you believe Jesus was a real historical figure, that would probably be fairly close. Scripture has little (if anything) to say on this.

Traditional? Where? I can’t think of a single movie, painting or statue that showed a blond Jesus.

He’s always depicted has having killer abs, too. Must have done a ton of crunches.

I’ve seen several Roman mosaics that depict him clean shaven, with blue eyes and short blond hair. However, I don’t think they could be described as particularly ‘traditional’.

However, this is the first image that comes up with a Google image search for “Jesus Christ”. Kind of light brown.

I’ve seen plenty, in places ranging from children’s illustrated Bibles to art museums. Granted, the most popular way Jesus has been depicted in my lifetime is as a white guy with light/medium brown hair, but the difference is marginal and I think the “blond Jesus” was more popular in the past.

If you look at Western art history, you’ll find that figures meant to be good or beautiful have often been depicted as blondes, even when this was inaccurate or implausible. Jesus was not exempt from this trend, although it tended to apply more to women. I’ve seen several works depicting Cleopatra as a blonde, and at least one illustration of the “I am black but comely” line from The Song of Solomon showing a dark-skinned black woman with flowing blonde hair!

What can I say? The only thing that modesty allows is to bow to superior knowledge.

Well spoken. Such clarity of thought leads one to suspect that you are one of the Chosen. Even if that is not so, rest assured that come The Day, you will be kindly regarded.


Blonde Jesus, with green eyes. 20th-century Seventh-Day Adventist art, I believe.

Purported modern “photo” of “Risen Christ”. He’s a blonde.

Jesus as a dark blonde, Byzantine.

Jesus as a dark blonde, Byzantine.

Jesus as a dark blonde, Byzantine.

William Holman Hunt’s “Light of the World”. Pre-Raphaelite, 19th century. Looks like a strawberry blonde to me.

Jesus as a redhead, 15th century, I think.

Jesus as a redhead. Da Vinci’s “Baptism of Christ”. Really skanky-lookin’ John the Baptist…

And from the “Last Supper”, also looks like a redhead to me.

Davis Community Church evidently wanted a carrot-topped Jesus for their stained glass window. They got it.

Cox’s 1905 “Christ”, definitely a flaming redhead.

Jesus with very light brown hair, Byzantine.

Jesus with very light brown hair. Giotto.

Jesus with light brown hair. 20th Century Mormon, I think.

Jesus as a pale-skinned brunette. El Greco.

And of course the Sunday School classics.

Marsani’s “Gethsemane”. Light brown.

The “Sacred Heart”, light brown.

Dark auburn.

“Christ Knocking On Heart’s Door”. Light brown.

And “Portrait of Christ”, also light brown.

I think that those could be described as ‘symbolic’ representations of Christ, identifying him with the ‘Sol Invictus’ (Invincible Sun) or some other mythological or allegorical figure.

There arose a custom in the 4th Century of painting Christ in a particular way… i.e. ‘Long parted hair, a full beard, delicate elongated facial features, large serious eyes gazing at the onlooker’ (Description form Christoph Card. Schonborn’s book ‘God’s Human Face’.) (This type is generally found in Eastern Icons)
In the book, Cardinal Schonborn identifies theological & historical reasons why an ‘accurate’ painting of Christ’s face might have arisen in the 4th century, but admits that we can’t tell whether this particular ‘type’ reflected an oral tradition of what Jesus looked like or not.

Hey DDG, don’t ever change!

I don’t think we’ll see Anthropology Jesus painted on velvet with a glitter halo anytime soon.

It is my recollection that Peter Paul Rubens’ Jesus was (were?) pretty studly looking Northern European dish water blonds. Rubens (1577-1640) was the darling of the Counter-reformation in Antwerp at about the same time Rembrandt (1606-1669) was starting out in Amsterdam. Rubens is regarded as the culmination and end of the Northern Renaissance with Rembrandt seen as the beginning of a tradition that culminated with the Impressionists in the late 19th Century, some 200 years later.

Obviously, we now know what inspired the comments which indicate being a redheaded step-child is a bad thing. (Jesus being Joseph’s step-child and all…)

now, I admit I still believe the Shroud may be authentic & the Medieval dating could be due to contaminated material, BUT if the Shroud is a forgery, it seems likely to be a forgery based on valid Church tradition, mainly carried through Byzantine art, sooooooo-

if you put a beard & longish (not as much as shoulder-length) hair on David Schwimmer, that would fit my belief on what Jesus looked like.

You mean the autographed picture of Jesus I got from border radio in the '50s is not really what he looks like??? But he signed it! It’s got to be!

OK, OK I didn’t really get one, but the cleaning lady who used to come by the house every two weeks when I was little said she donated to the radio station and got one. She said it helped her daughter be cured of whooping cough. So it’s got to be true!