The Average Faces of Jesus and Satan

Average Jesus Average Satan

I had the two images above forwarded to me by a blog reader. They represent the average composite that emerged from combining the features of actors who've portrayed Jesus and Satan in films. I'll bet you can tell which is which without needing captions. Does this tell us anything about our stereotypes regarding these figures?

Here is some more information about how these images came about, again forwarded to me by the same individual:

The project came out of Bluefield College's Department of Art and Design. The origin of the idea is that since it's the holidays, several of these movies will be shown on tv and it's interesting to see how Jesus has been portrayed in Hollywood over time. Originally they were just going to do Jesus, but decided that it would be interesting to do the Devil/Satan as well considering there have been several portrayals of him in film.So in a sense, it is a media studies, art and design, and holiday project all in one.I think the most surprising aspect of the project is actually how “unsurprising” it is. For the most part (until recently) Jesus has been portrayed as very “European” or “westernized” sometimes even having blonde hair and blue eyes… and the composite image shows that pretty clearly.Prime example: Jeffrey Hunter in 1961's King of KingsWe know now that Jesus would likely have been very Middle Eastern looking.Overall, a very interesting graphic.Here is the list of actors that comprise the composites:Jesus:Brian DeaconChris SarandonChristian BaleDiogo MorgadoEnrique IrazoquiEwan McGregorHaaz SleimanHalvard HoffHB WarnerHenry Ian CusickJeffrey HunterJeremy SistoJim CaviezelJohn K SteelJuan Pablo Di PaceMax von SydowRobert PowellTed NeeleyWill FerrellWillem DafoeSatan:Al PacinoAnton LaveyBruce PayneClarence WilliamsClaude RainsDavid WarnerElizabeth HurleyGabriel ByrneGeorge Burns (played God and the Devil)Harvey KeitelJack NicholsonMax von Sydow (if you notice he played both Jesus and the Devil in separate films)Peter CookPeter FondaPeter StormareRobert De NiroRosalinda CelentanoTom WaitsViggo MortensenVincent PriceWalter Huston

See below for animations showing the images that went into making the composite.

average jesus average satan


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  • arcseconds

    Well, obviously we think of Jesus as being a young hippy, and Satan as being a mature, well-established man (Elizabeth Hurley and Rosalinda Celentano not withstanding).

    Both white, of course, although there’s a slight air of exoticness about Satan.

    (Maybe it’s about time we had a few female Jesuses?)

    I suppose we can take a degree of heart from this, but unfortunately despite the fact that even conservatives picture Jesus as a hippy, and in all probability accept the portrayal of Satan as being a businessman, this apparently doesn’t stop their suspicion of actual hippies or other counter-cultural figures, or their support for establishment figures.

    And the wider society isn’t all that much better: we like the rebels in the movies and hate the evil corporate figures, but while we might agree in an abstract sense that unfettered capitalism isn’t ideal, we continue to see alternatives and those fighting for them as being ‘unrealistic’ at best, and dangerous idealogues at worst.