Christ as the Good Shepherd


c. 425 AD
Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna

Soon after the adoption of Christianity as the official religion of Rome Christ's appearance in art underwent a radical makeover to rival those on modern daytime talk shows. Human nature explains a great deal about this transformation from simple Jewish carpenter's son to regal King of Heaven. Byzantine emperors, steeped in a tradition going back to the glory days of Imperial Rome, just could not seem bring themselves to worship images of Christ as he probably really looked.

For this reason we see Christ now wearing the finest of Roman togas and not the simple attire a carpenter would have worn—he seems to have been dressed by the ancestors of Armani and Gucci rather than an earlier version of J.C. Penney.