Undoubtedly, the first Christian art - or "God art" - appeared during or shortly after Jesus' life here on earth. Indeed, paintings from around 70 A.D. still exist. Over the past two decades, Christian themes in contemporary art have enjoyed a renaissance as artists have sought to express their spirituality and religiosity through their paintings.
Contemporary Christian paintings incorporate a wide variety of themes. Some fine art adheres to the iconic imagery seen in religious art throughout the ages - what some might call literal Biblical interpretations. These iconic themes include the Annunciation, the Adoration of the Magi, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, the Stations of the Cross, and the Virgin Mary. Saints are also popular iconic themes in contemporary God art.
Some artists go back to before Christ's birth; indeed, to the creation of the universe. For example, contemporary fine artist Anthony Falbo's Genesis Series depicts the first book of the Bible. Through Falbo's paintings, the creation of the universe unfolds as though it was happening today. Through his abstract style, you can see light emerging, the separation of day from night, the firmament rising, the land appearing, the vegetation blooming, the living creatures coming forth, and the hand of God touching the hand of man.
But just as God created both light and darkness, contemporary Christian artists depict both good and evil. From the shame that Adam and Eve felt after disobeying God in the Garden of Eden to both overt images and subliminal messages of hell, artists depict the darker side of humanity.
A Variety of Styles
Today's Christian artists employ styles and media as varied as devotion itself. For example, some artists may paint in an Impressionist style, using bold colors, loose strokes, and thick dabs of paint to bring a scene to life. Others express themselves through cubism, the art form that rearranges pieces of objects in such a way that the person seeing the painting gains new insight into the object represented. Still others paint in an abstractionist form, stretching, enlarging, or magnifying figure and form to shed new light on everyday subjects. Some artists, like Anthony Falbo, combine forms like cubism and abstractionism into what could be termed "cubestraction," and produce remarkable pieces.
Exhibiting Our Devotion
Christians today are embracing contemporary artists by purchasing both original works and limited edition reproductions. Fine art with a spiritual theme - whether it's the birth of Christ, the creation of the earth, or other "God art" - serves as a reminder of the Creator's presence in our lives, as well as His importance to our safety and well-being. It also keeps us mindful of the need to express our devotion, to spread the Word of God, and to be thankful for the gifts He has bestowed upon us.