Why are there images in medieval art that depict Jesus in a spaceship? Ester Inglic-Arkell at io9 investigates:
Most experts agree that the resemblance of the things in the painting to the spacecraft imagined by modern science fiction artists is uncanny. But none of our own actual spaceships actually resemble what we see in the paintings. None of these paintings show things that look like planes or landers or even satellites. Instead, they show artists’ conceptions of the sort of spaceships that would look good in art.And centuries ago, they also looked good in art. The only difference was, then the art depicted the presence of the Holy Spirit. Even if an artist saw UFOs flying around, this was a church-commissioned painting on a church wall. The church got the say in what went up on it, not the painter. When the church wanted a depiction of the (forgive the expression) alien presence of God in everyday life, and the painter came up with a design that worked. Similarly, when editors of science fiction pulp magazines wanted a cover picture depicting alien ships coming to Earth, the artist came up with a design that worked. The convergence of the images isn’t one of experience, but of artistic sensibilities.