Apr 6, 2020

Paintings for Holy Week: The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus in Art

By Anna Mussmann

One of the worst things about celebrating Holy Week without the chance to go to church is how easy it is to lose the sense that our Lord’s death and resurrection is something we celebrate with all Christians throughout the ages. Christ died and rose for each of us, yes, but also for all of us. In times of struggle and suffering, there is great comfort in remembering the cloud of witnesses who have gone before us and the communion of the saints in which we join. 

We are part of the Body of Christ no matter how long we must self-isolate.

Our ability to participate in Holy Week services online is a blessing, of course, and we can rejoice in hearing God’s Word through that medium. Yet I think it is also helpful to find other ways to join Christians throughout the ages in contemplating what our God has done for us. 

That's why I don't want to focus only on modern Sunday School-style crafts this week. My children and I will be looking at the life of Christ through art. Painters throughout history have created works that remind us of our Savior’s acts for us. We will study a variety of paintings from different time periods--some will help us “review” the life and ministry of Jesus, and others will provide an opportunity to think more deeply about His suffering and His triumph over death for us. Looking at Scripture through the eyes of artists from different times and places is something I find both moving and comforting. I hope you find this “picture study” useful!

Here are the Resources We Will be Using 

Slide Show

I’ve made a Google Slides presentation with art and Scripture. You can access it here. Because my children are young and their attention spans are limited, I’ve chosen only one painting to illustrate each event. Older kids might benefit from thinking about the differences in the way various painters have chosen to portray the same stories (for additional paintings see below). 

Individual Links to Art

In case you find it more useful than the Google slides, here are individual links to suggested paintings (they are on Wikipedia and in the public domain, so you can download them and arrange them in the form most helpful for your family). 

Ministry of Jesus: Preaching, Miracles, etc. This, This, This, This, This, and This

Resurrection: This, This, This, This, This, and This. And, I suppose, this too. 

Again, feel free to use this slide show that combines the images with Scripture verses. 

Blessings on your fine art study! I hope these are helpful. 



After graduating from Concordia Wisconsin, Anna taught in Lutheran schools for several years.  She now homeschools her children and writes during naptime. Anna loves Jane Austen, dark chocolate, and the Oxford comma. She likes to review the books she reads on Goodreads, and her work can also be found in The Federalist.

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