In our podcast episode "Baby Jesus and the Homunculus" Joe and I discuss a number of different medieval and Renaissance paintings to chart the evolution of the Christ Child from a miniature adult human to a believable infant. Be sure to tune into that one -- embedded below -- for a full explanation of the "ugly Renaissance babies" that make us giggle. The answer traverses the worlds of theology, history and art.
We spend a lot of time discussing the above image by Maarten van Heemskerck -- mainly because of that utterly ripped baby Jesus. Let's take a closer look:
Here's another version of Saint Luke painting the Virgin by van Heemskerck. Note the anatomy text book at her feet and the anatomical and sculptural studies going on in the background.
But now onto some proper homunculoid versions of the Christ Child...
I actually grew up with a representation of this one in my home:
Note the corpse-like appearance of this one, something with symbolic weight in Christian traditions:
The following is one of my favorites, as Fouquet manages to depict a Christ Child that is at once regal and biologically realistic. It's also beautifully surreal and weirdly erotic.