The Life of Jesus in the Paintings at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

BC 8
BC 7
   Adoration of the Magi

P.1352 - §3 These wise men saw no star to guide them to Bethlehem. The beautiful legend of the star of Bethlehem originated in this way: Jesus was born August 21 at noon, 7 B.C. On May 29, 7 B.C., there occurred an extraordinary conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation of Pisces. And it is a remarkable astronomic fact that similar conjunctions occurred on September 29 and December 5 of the same year. Upon the basis of these extraordinary but wholly natural events the well-meaning zealots of the succeeding generation constructed the appealing legend of the star of Bethlehem and the adoring Magi led thereby to the manger, where they beheld and worshiped the newborn babe. Oriental and near-Oriental minds delight in fairy stories, and they are continually spinning such beautiful myths about the lives of their religious leaders and political heroes. In the absence of printing, when most human knowledge was passed by word of mouth from one generation to another, it was very easy for myths to become traditions and for traditions eventually to become accepted as facts.


   Adoration of the Shepherds
   Flight into Egypt (6 BC)

Matthew 2:16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.

P.1354 - §3 The massacre of these infants took place about the middle of October, 6 B.C., when Jesus was a little over one year of age. But there were believers in the coming Messiah even among Herod's court attachés, and one of these, learning of the order to slaughter the Bethlehem boy babies, communicated with Zacharias, who in turn dispatched a messenger to Joseph; and the night before the massacre Joseph and Mary departed from Bethlehem with the babe for Alexandria in Egypt. In order to avoid attracting attention, they journeyed alone to Egypt with Jesus. They went to Alexandria on funds provided by Zacharias, and there Joseph worked at his trade while Mary and Jesus lodged with well-to-do relatives of Joseph's family. They sojourned in Alexandria two full years, not returning to Bethlehem until after the death of Herod.


   Mother and Child (6 - 4 BC)
Most of the paintings with Mary and infant Jesus cover the period of their sojourn in Egypt. By the time they return to Bethlehem after the death of Herod (4 BC), Jesus would have been 3 years old.
   Mother and Child + Others
   Holy Family
   Boy Jesus in the Temple (AD 7)
   John the Baptist (7 BC - AD 28)
   Baptism (AD 26)
   Calling of the Apostles (AD 26)
   Wedding at Cana
   Miraculous Draught of Fishers (AD 28)
   Prodigal Son


Parables were taught toward the end of Jesus' career (AD 30)

   Washing of the Feet (AD 30)
   Mary Magdalene
   Saints and Martyrs
   Adam and Eve