AI-generated image of Jesus goes viral

AI-generated image of Jesus goes viral

Dutch artist Bas Uterwijk’s depiction of Jesus has gone viral on Twitter, with users struck by the relatability and warmth of the visage.

Commenting on the image, Dr Paul Caffrey of the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) in Dublin explained different aspects of the picture and its development.

“The portrait is produced in a way that speaks to our hyper-sensitive visual sensibility and our expectations of perfected and highly idealised photographic images.

“This new icon reflects our contemporary 21st-Century culture and interpretations of portraiture in the digital age,” he told The Irish Catholic.

The picture currently stands at over 236,000 likes, having been re-tweeted over 27,000 times.


According to Dr Caffrey, “We do not know what Jesus Christ looked like as there are no descriptions of his actual appearance in the New Testament. No contemporary portraits have survived. It is unlikely that any were created due to the prohibition on portraiture in Jewish law. The question of how to depict the Saviour has taxed the artistic imagination since the fourth century”.

Speaking about the techniques Mr Uterwijk used in the development of the image, Dr Caffrey said it “builds on the traditional iconography of Jesus Christ. He has specialised in making portraits of historical figures using Artbreeder which uses GAN (generative confrontation network) to create a new image that looks realistic and gives life and personality to representations of famous people which are derived from paintings or sculpture.”