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About Jesus' Face in the Vallotton Illustrations

Vallotton's Bible illustrations were famously published throughout the pages of the Good News Bible. Their dramatic postures and lack of minute detail made them perfect for the page sizes and modern tone of that Bible. But her reason for not including details of Jesus' face goes deeper than that.

Vallotton image of Jesus calming the storm

Don Griggs, a friend of Annie Vallotton and patron, shared this explanation with us:

Annie wrote us saying, “By using few lines the readers fill in the outlines with their own imagination and freedom. I want the ones viewing the drawing to see Jesus in their own way, using their creativity to imagine how Jesus would look.

John Fea, author of a history of the American Bible Society—the folks who published Vallotton's work in the Good News Bible—wrote this explanation:

"The American Bible Society believes these drawings transcended nationality, language, and race. By omitting facial details, skin color, and other cultural indicators on her figures, Valloton hopes that every reader will see their own Jesus; one that was particularly right for him or her."

The illustrations in the Griggs collection featured here at are similar to but NOT the same illustrations used in the Good News Bible (GNB).

Most of the people in the Griggs-Vallotton collection DO have facial features, no doubt, in part because they were commissioned for a work that featured larger versions of her illustrations than those found in the GNB. But Vallotton continued to leave Jesus' face up to the viewer, and we might add, grace us with the volumes spoken by his posture and gestures and the people reacting to his message.

Last edited by Neil MacQueen
Original Post

Here are sample images from the Vallotton collection everyone can view and copy

Click to enlarge



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and get access to the entire Vallotton Gospel Illustrations Collection!

The 140 images in our collection are full-size and higher resolution than the samples. You also get both the original colored-background versions originally created by Annie, and a black and white version of each that's easier on your printer's ink.


Images (7)
  • PeterJesusFeet-ForumLogo1
  • VallottonSamples1
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  • Vallotton-Gospel-Image-Samples
Last edited by Neil MacQueen

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