Lamb of God Agnus Dei Artwork and Paintings

Collected by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Part of JesusWalk -- Behold the Lamb of God

Ontario, Canada, church doorway, Behold the Lamb of God, mosaic with gilded sun above Lamb.
The Agnus Dei or Lamb of God symbol, typically shows a lamb, holding a cross or a flag. The Agnus Dei probably goes back to 5th century Rome. Discs of wax imprinted with the lamb, blessed by the Pope, were used from the ninth century, and probably earlier. 

One of the few Christian symbols dating from the first century is that of the Good Shepherd carrying on His shoulders a lamb or a sheep, with two other sheep at his side. Between the first and the fourth century eighty-eight frescoes of this type were depicted in the Roman catacombs.

San Vitale, Ravenna (begun 532, consecrated 547A.D), Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) Detail of  Central Medallion, large photo, detailed image.

In the Agnus Dei symbol, the lamb was used to symbolize innocence and was also a sacrificial animal.  the Agnus Dei, or Lamb of God, is an ancient symbol of Christ and His sacrifice. The cross stands for Christ's victory over sin and death. Biblical references include John 1:29 and Revelation 14. In ancient examples of the Agnus Dei may be seen lying upon the Book of Seven Seals or carrying the Banner of Victory. It must be crowned with a three-rayed nimbus or halo, signifying that it is a symbol of divinity. In other examples the Lamb stands upon a hill from which flow the Four Rivers of Paradise, signifying the Four Gospels. 

In Christian symbolism, the lamb represents Jesus, "the Lamb of God." Standing with a banner, the lamb represents the risen Christ triumphant over death. Standing with a cross and a gash in its side, it symbolizes the passion of Christ. Seated on a throne or a book, the lamb represents the judgment of Christ. Because the lamb is humble, gentle, and innocent, lambs are often engraved on the tombstones of children.

Detail. Adoration of the Lamb, by Jan van Eyck (1432), oil on wood, Ghent altarpiece, Cathedral of St. Bavo, Ghent.

Paintings of Lamb of God or Agnus Dei


Albrecht Durer, detail of Adoration of the Lamb
Detail  of "Adoration of the Lamb"  (1496-98) woodcut by Albrecht Dürer. Larger image.


Albrecht Dürer (German painter, 1471-1528), Adoration of the Lamb (1496-98), woodcut in Apocalypse of St. John series, each 39 x 28cm.

Sculpture, carving, statue of Lamb of God

Piero della Francesca (1416-1492), Resurrection of Christ (1463-65), Mural in fresco and tempera, 225 x 200 cm, Pinacoteca Comunale, Sansepolcro 

Painting of Scene with John the Baptist pointing to Jesus as the Lamb of God

Dieric Bouts d. Ä. (1410 - 1475), "Ecce Agnus Dei", (1462/64), Holz, 53,8 x 41,2 cm
Erworben 1989 mit Unterstützung der Kulturstiftung der Länder.

Agnus Dei Stained Glass Windows

Mosaic of Lamb of God altar of little chapel Capella Pinardi, Turin, Italy.Mosaic



Copyright © 2020, Ralph F. Wilson. <> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

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