Everyone knows what Jesus looks like. He is the most painted figure in all of Western art, recognised everywhere as having long hair and a beard, a long robe with long sleeves (often white) and a mantle (often blue).
Jesus is so familiar that he can be recognised on pancakes or pieces of toast.
But did he really look like this?
In fact this familiar image of Jesus actually comes from the Byzantine era, from the 4th Century onwards, and Byzantine representations of Jesus were symbolic – they were all about meaning, not historical accuracy.
They were based on the image of an enthroned emperor, as we see in the altar mosaic of the Santa Pudenziana church in Rome.