Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Sunday 19 September |
Our Lady of La Salette
home iconTravel
line break icon

Five of the most beautiful Catholic sculptures of all time

Michelangelo-pieta

Stanislav Traykov | CC BY 2.5

Daniel Esparza - published on 02/06/19

Remember D’Agrave’s St. Bartholomew?

In the history of Christianity, images have every now and then been the object of both veneration and repulsion. Iconoclastic revolts – not only during the Reformation, but also earlier, with Byzantine Iconoclasm – in which the use or misuse of religious images was opposed created religious, political and economic divisions in society.

However, following Paul’s Letter to the Colossians, in which Jesus is presented as “the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15-18), Christians have always understood that, if the invisible God made himself visible as human in the figure of Christ, then there is nothing wrong with the use of images to represent the deity. This understanding of Pauline doctrine allowed for the development of an exceptionally beautiful artistic tradition, in which Christianity adapted both the techniques and some of the motifs already present in classical Greek and Roman art.

Also, it should be remembered that in several passages of the Old Testament – especially those referring to the building of the Temple – God himself commands his people to create images (e.g., angels, bulls, snakes) that will be part of the decoration of the Temple, and even of the Ark of the Covenant. In all cases, it is clear these images are not to be worshiped – that is, they are not idols – but rather venerated. Images help the believer pray, meditate, and contemplate.

Here, we wanted to share with you some of the most beautiful Catholic sculptures of all time, with a clear emphasis on Renaissance art.


Veiled Christ. Napoli, Cappella Sansevero

Read more:
The Veiled Christ: The Miracle of Transparent Marble


VEILED VIRGIN

Read more:
The Veiled Virgin: Another miracle of transparent marble

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Pope considers what to do with pro-abortion Catholic politicians
2
ARGENTINE CHILDREN
Esteban Pittaro
Argentine “Mother Teresa” was a former model and actress who embr...
3
Berthe and Marcel
Lauriane Vofo Kana
This couple has the longest marriage in France
4
RESURRECTION
Philip Kosloski
Your body is not a “shell” for your spirit
5
Kathleen N. Hattrup
On same-sex unions, Pope says Church doesn’t have power to change...
6
Mathilde De Robien
How a lost masterpiece of sacred art was discovered thanks to chi...
7
communion
Philip Kosloski
How receiving Holy Communion can drive away demons
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.