Some of the great works of art in history are coming to life at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC.
The new exhibit, 'Picture Books of the Past: Reading an Old Master Painting' gives visitors a plain view of the paintings of the European "old masters" like Tintoretto, Dolci, and Murillo.
During a time when the Bible was available only to a privileged few, the church used the visual arts to help those who couldn't read and to inspire religious devotion.
"It is important to read, analyze and interpret images. Understanding how people of the past used images to communicate profound ideas can help viewers move beyond the idea of images as entertainment to images as meaningful constructs," said Erin Jones, executive director of the Museum & Gallery.
"A thorough understanding can also help with interpreting visual propaganda so common in our culture today," she added.
Displays range from the Madonna and child to the robes of John the Baptist, along with the hands of Christ.
The works of the "old masters" date back from the fourteenth to nineteenth century. They represent various cultures, different languages and changing styles.
Biblical scenes represented in vibrant color and intricate design include King Solomon, the Tree of Jesse, John the Baptist preaching in the desert, the Nativity, Pentecost, the martyrdom of Stephen and many scenes from the life of Jesus.
— Museum of the Bible (@museumofBible) August 15, 2019
The museum's goal is to educate the public on the history of the Bible and the influence it has had on societies around the world.
The exhibit is open to the public through the end of September 2020 and shows how various Christian symbols repeat across time.