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Religious paintings are one of the most often-used artistic expressions on the planet. In the West, images from Christianity are the most prevalent. Figures are painted literally to represent important scenes, such as the Lamentation of Christ or the Annunciation. These images are found in plastered walls of old churches, in stained glass windows, and in self-contained paintings on canvas.
In Judaism, the use of images is restrained. Many architectural details of synagogues are similar to Christian churches. Motifs including the menorah, ram’s horns, and references to the destroyed Temple in Jerusalem might be included in the interior design scheme. Jewish synagogues also utilize stained glass.
Painting the likeness of God is strictly forbidden in Islam, and painting the likeness of Muhammad is highly unusual. Islamic artists have developed a rich tradition of geometric and vegetal patterning, as well as calligraphy. In the Hindu tradition, deities are painted as well as scenes of gurus and seekers meditating and interacting. Hinduism, like Christianity, makes free and liberal use of imagery to inspire the faithful.
On January 29, 2014, Christie’s New York sold an exceptionally fine 500-year-old illustrated manuscript, known as the Rothschild Prayerbook, for $13.6 million
In the same sale, "Adoration of the Shepherds," painted in oil on canvas circa 1562-63 by Jacopo Bassano, sold for $8.9 million
On January 29, 2015, Sotheby’s New York offered for sale "Paradise Landscape with the Animals Entering Noah’s Arc," by Jan Brueghel the Elder. The oil painting on a copper support sold for $3.97 million