Latter-day Saint Life

Beautiful new painting brings Jacob 5 to life (even if those 77 verses intimidate you)

For North Carolina-based artist Chrisanne Serafin, painting is a powerful way to strengthen her personal relationship with Jesus Christ. She recently created a stunning representation of the master of the vineyard from Jacob 5 inspired by her Mexican ancestry.

The painting depicts the master of the vineyard grafting in new olive tree branches, symbolizing Christ’s dedication to gathering all of God’s children and helping them receive the blessings of salvation. The central figure in “Allegory of the Olive Tree” resembles Chrisanne’s great-grandfather, who was a migrant farm worker who specialized in grafting trees.

Allegory of the Olive Tree by Chrisanne Serafin
Courtesy of Chrisanne Serafin

“I want people to see images of Jesus and see themselves in Him, whether you come from different backgrounds, different ethnicities,” Chrisanne says. “I think representation matters.”

Chrisanne believes that engaging with more diverse images of the Savior than we’re sometimes used to seeing in traditional religious artwork is a valuable way to understand Him and His character better.

“Even if it’s not necessarily your life experience or your background being portrayed, there’s still something that is truly invaluable about learning about other people’s experience [of the Savior],” she says. “Being able to see other people’s portrayal of Christ and hear about [their] experiences connecting with Him and learning of Him is an invaluable opportunity to build your own testimony of Christ.”

While Chrisanne loves to paint, she admits that she shied away from depicting the Savior for a long time. But when she recently navigated months filled with what she describes as “some of the lowest mental and emotional lows [she’s] had in years,” Chrisanne turned to painting as a way to get in touch with Him more.

A painting of Christ with his hand over his heart.
He Carries Our Burdens by Chrisanne Serafin
Courtesy of Chrisanne Serafin

She found that the creative process opened her mind more to Christ and expanded her understanding of His ability to empathize with our human struggles. “I really truly believe that Jesus is a warm, loving older brother who just wants to reach out to us,” Chrisanne says. “I hope that my art portrays the warmth I feel when I think about Him and when I learn about Him.”

Understanding how others feel about Christ through different depictions in visual art can help deepen our sense of connection with Him. As Chrisanne says:

“Sometimes I think of it in terms of trying to render my relationship with Christ in 3D. So much of my knowledge feels like I have this outline of Christ, or I’m starting to get a little bit of shadowing and lighting … but ultimately, I want to have a full 3D sculpture.

“And so every experience that is shared about Him—whether that’s my experience or somebody else’s—helps build that image, that relationship.”

▶You may also like: 5 new paintings of the Savior so striking they stopped us in our tracks

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