So what did Mary and Jesus really look like? Jesus’ disciples never bothered to give a physical description of him. Years later, when Luke interviewed Mary for his letter to Theophilus, he wrote much of her experience, but he never said anything about her appearance. So all anyone knows is that they were Jews living in an amazing part of the world intersected by Asia, Africa, and Europe. A map of Israel would make an interesting Venn diagram.
Artists started creating their own interpretations early on. By the second century, Christian artists were painting catacomb frescos that looked very much like the classical portraits that would have decorated upscale homes throughout the Roman Empire. Artists have continued to create Biblical images with the artistic sensibilities of their own culture, time, and history.
The Basilica of Annunciation in Nazareth is a wonderful example of artistic interpretation. The Basilica's inspiring collection of art depicts the announcement of the angel Gabriel to Mary that she would be the mother of Jesus. The images of this scene are works of art created and donated by Christians from around the world. Much of the art is mosaic, and the collection itself is a mosaic of worldwide Christianity
This unusual Mary seems to fly above the mosaic background. And she actually does because she is three dimensional. Her dress is metallic, and the multiple facets of the metal remind me of the sumptuous folds of cloth in the Renaissance paintings of the same subject. Her arms are outstretched in a bold manner. With great courage she is shouting, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word."