Biblical masterpieces reimagined

And then there was art: For over two millennia, religious stories have been reinterpreted by artists and storytellers across all creative mediums.

Since the very successful ‘Passion of Christ’ directed by Mel Gibson, Hollywood has sought to cash in and find other biblical themes and this year’s new instalment is Risen, released in time for Holy Week, imagines what happened after Jesus’ dramatic tomb exit.

Inspired by the resurrection of biblical epics, we compare how the iconic, religious masterpieces of art history have also been reworked by contemporary artists.

1. Noah’s Ark

Left: Noah's Ark (woodcut) (b/w photo), English School, (15th century) Right: Noah's Barge, 1987, Galambos, Tamas (Contemporary Artist)
Left: Noah’s Ark (woodcut) (b/w photo), English School, (15th century)
Right: Noah’s Barge, 1987, Galambos, Tamas (Contemporary Artist)

2. Moses parting the Red Sea

Left: The Crossing of the Red Sea, 1555 (fresco), Agnolo Bronzino (1503-72) / Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, Italy Right: Exodus, 1999 (oil on canvas), Richard Mcbee (b.1947) (Contemporary Artist) / Private Collection
Left: The Crossing of the Red Sea, 1555 (fresco), Agnolo Bronzino (1503-72) / Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, Italy
Right: Exodus, 1999 (oil on canvas), Richard Mcbee (b.1947) (Contemporary Artist)

3. Adam and Eve banished from the Garden of Eden

Left: Adam and Eve banished from Paradise, c.1427 (fresco) Tommaso Masaccio (1401-28) / Brancacci Chapel, Florence, Italy Right: Adam and Eve, South of Market, 1994 (mixed media on linen), Alek Rapoport (Contemporary Artist)
Left: Adam and Eve banished from Paradise, c.1427 (fresco) Tommaso Masaccio (1401-28)  Brancacci Chapel, Florence, Italy
Right: Adam and Eve, South of Market, 1994 (mixed media on linen), Alek Rapoport (Contemporary Artist)

4. David and Goliath

Left: David with the Head of Goliath, 1606 (oil on canvas), Caravaggio (1571-1610) / Galleria Borghese, Rome, Italy Right: David and Goliath, illustration from 'Bible Stories', 1968 (colour litho), Gino D'Achille (20th century) / Private Collection
Left: David with the Head of Goliath, 1606 (oil on canvas), Caravaggio (1571-1610) / Galleria Borghese, Rome, Italy
Right: David and Goliath, illustration from ‘Bible Stories’, 1968 (colour litho), Gino D’Achille

5. Moses and the Burning Bush

Left: Moses and the Burning Bush, William Blake (1757-1827) / Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK Right: God speaks to Moses from the burning bush, 2004 (w/c on paper), Elizabeth Wang (Contemporary Artist)
Left: Moses and the Burning Bush, William Blake (1757-1827) / Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK
Right: God speaks to Moses from the burning bush, 2004 (w/c on paper), Elizabeth Wang (Contemporary Artist)

6. Tower of Babel

Left: Tower of Babel, 1563 (oil on panel), Pieter the Elder Bruegel (c.1525-69) / Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria Right: Babel Tower, 2002 (acrylic on canvas), Laura James (Contemporary Artist) / Private Collection
Left: Tower of Babel, 1563 (oil on panel), Pieter the Elder Bruegel (c.1525-69) / Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria
Right: Babel Tower, 2002 (acrylic on canvas), Laura James (Contemporary Artist) / Private Collection

7. Joseph sold by his brothers

Left: Joseph sold by his brothers, c.1250 (vellum), William de Brailes (fl.c.1230) / Musee Marmottan Monet, Paris, France Right: Joseph and his Brothers, 1948 (oil on canvas), Ernst Eisenmayer (Contemporary Artist)
Left: Joseph sold by his brothers, c.1250 (vellum), William de Brailes (fl.c.1230) / Musee Marmottan Monet, Paris, France
Right: Joseph and his Brothers, 1948 (oil on canvas), Ernst Eisenmayer (Contemporary Artist)

8. Madonna and Child

Left: The Grand Duke's Madonna, Raffaello, Palazzo Pitti, Florence Right: Madonna and child - Beloved Son (detail), 2008 (acrylic on wood), Patricia Brintle (Contemporary Artist) / Private Collection
Left: The Grand Duke’s Madonna, Raffaello, Palazzo Pitti, Florence
Right: Madonna and child – Beloved Son (detail), 2008 (acrylic on wood), Patricia Brintle (Contemporary Artist) / Private Collection

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All images on this post were sourced from Bridgeman. Contact their sales team on uksales@bridgemanimages.com with any queries regarding licensing and clearing copyright.

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