Some of the best-known depictions of Christ, from Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper” to Michelangelo’s “Last Judgment” in the Sistine Chapel, were produced during this period.
But the all-time most-reproduced image of Jesus comes from another period. It is Warner Sallman’s light-eyed, light-haired “Head of Christ” from 1940. Sallman, a former commercial artist who created art for advertising campaigns, successfully marketed this picture worldwide.
Through Sallman’s partnerships with two Christian publishing companies, one Protestant and one Catholic, the Head of Christ came to be included on everything from prayer cards to stained glass, faux oil paintings, calendars, hymnals and night lights.
WHO COPIED THE OTHER?
Sallman’s painting culminates a long tradition of white Europeans creating and disseminating pictures of Christ made in their own image.