Who came up with our popular image of Jesus?

Modern images of Jesus do seem to be inspired by Cesare Borgia; he might not be the first European-inspired version of Jesus, but he seems to currently be the most influential.

Link to the column.

The funny thing is, despite modern stereotypes, Middle Eastern people are not all uniformly brown with dark hair and eyes. Nor were they in Roman times. In fact, ancient Palestine probably did not look all that different than modern Israel with its mix of European Jews, Americans, and Arabs. The culture was mostly Greco-Roman, with strong admixtures of Macedonians, Goths, and Asians.

Jesus might well have been the auburn haired blue eyed person we see in paintings. Who knows?