Famous Art to Teach Bible Stories


Have you ever thought of using famous art to teach Bible stories to your kids?

I especially love Rembrandt’s paintings of Biblical scenes, which help to bring those Bible stories to life. Make sure that your kids understand that these are not photos but interpretations of what a scene might have looked like when it happened in Bible times. (Also, keep in mind that any art book that you buy or get from the library will probably have nudity in it as well, so just pick the scenes you want to discuss and show those pictures to your kids.)

Rembrant’s painting “Jacob Blessing the Sons of Joseph” is one of my favorite scenes. In his old age, Jacob is about to die. He decides to bless the sons of Joseph as if they were his own sons. Jacob lived a very difficult life, since his sons tried to murder Joseph and then sold him into slavery in Egypt. They lied to their father, letting their father believe that Joseph had been killed by wild animals.

When Joseph was finally placed into a position of power, he eventually revealed his identity to his brothers, who told their father Jacob that his son Joseph was still alive. Jacob and all his family moved to Egypt to escape from the famine that was taking place. Now Jacob had the opportunity to see the sons of Joseph.

He crossed his arms and blessed the younger more than the older. This caused Joseph to be disturbed, but Jacob told him he knew what he was doing. Both of his grandsons would be blessed, but the younger would be greater than the older. This was ironic because Jacob is the same person who stole his brother’s blessing because God told his mother that her younger son would be blessed.

Notice the rich red blanket in the picture, probably a gift from his powerful son, Joseph, who is pictured with a turban because he had been living in Egypt. The lighting of the picture is beautiful, with the light coming from behind Jacob, illuminating his grandsons. You can ask your children to point out these details from the scene, causing them to interact not only with the Bible story, but with a famous work of art.

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4 Responses to “Famous Art to Teach Bible Stories”

  1. Laurel Regan says:

    Clever idea! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Bonnie Gean says:

    It takes great patience to teach our little ones from home and you are such a great story teller, too!

    I am certain your kids enjoyed this story as much as I did and thank you for bringing it alive for me to read!

  3. Sophie Bowns says:

    Even though I think that the Bible should be read with a LARGE pinch of salt, I did like this fascinating piece of art! 🙂

  4. Ticia says:

    This is on my to do list.

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