A couple of days ago, I went rummaging through a hard drive and was annoyed to find a bunch of artwork photos, were not where I thought they might be. I now think they are probably located in the PC tower, which resides in the cupboard and as a result of this thinking, I grabbed the camera and worked through the corresponding pile of art work and edited them all not long after that. Some of them I put to one side, these are going to be recycled into something new.
The bible has long been a source of great artistic influence and for a long time was the only kind of art proscribed by the Catholic Church. Hence the reason why so much pre-Renaissance and Renaissance art was centred around the life of Christ, his Apostles and the Saints. The Church hierarchy liked these paintings, they helped remind them of what remember what good taste they had and sometimes forget whom they were supposed to be serving.
Those Popes, Potentates and other persons concerned with the imperilment of their mortal, or immortal souls, would commission artists to paint nice pictures and have them hung in places of worship upon completion. (The painting that is, not the artist) Sometimes these pieces of art would have the benefactors image, (sometimes their entire family) Included in the painting to assure the public and their creator that they were indeed a good and pious person, well deserving of a place in Heaven. A bit like buying an indulgence but with Canvas and Oil paint or Egg Tempera in the place of money or an alleged sacred relic.
The classic image of Jesus portrays him as a Caucasian male with light brown hair and blue eyes. These characteristics are not totally typical of someone of Middle Eastern descent. The reasons for this being were that for centuries, the mainly white European hegemony, believed they were the pinnacle of the creators endeavours and everybody else came a poor second. The second was that his image was often based around that of earlier Pagan solar deity figures such as Apollo or Hermes, who were handy stand ins for someone with no known likeness. His long flowing blonde hair being representative of the golden rays of the sun, Jesus according to Church doctrine and new testament accounts, being the son of God. (Which is another story for another day)