Statues and paintings of Jesus can become predictable. They stare, pray, suffer on the cross or rest in a crib.
On closer inspection, there are some bullet holes. Others hide mysterious messages. Since this is art, controversial interpretations will always be there. But one of them, the claim that Jesus was the victim of sexual violence, could affect the entire Catholic Church.
See also: 10 controversial accounts of Jesus
10 The Creepy Jesus Lamb  As history has shown, Jesus paintings are prone to botched restorations. When another masterpiece was cleaned and shown to the public in 2020, many thought it had happened again.
The painting was The Adoration of the Mystical Lamb . It was created in the 1
The face of the lamb was very humanoid. Although it bothered visitors and even shocked the experts, this wasn't another mistake. During 1550, two different artists had changed the animal's appearance to look more embarrassed. However, the original version was designed so that the human-like face looked almost directly at the viewer. Some critics did not appreciate the look and described the eyes as "overly confrontational". 
9 Lost masterpiece found in a kitchen
In 2019, a French woman was cleaning before moving. Among the things she no longer wanted was a painting. The family heirloom hung over the kitchen counter and was pretty depressing. It showed how Jesus was pushed around by a crowd. Perhaps instinctively warned, she let it be judged. The decision made her $ 26.8 million richer.
The work belonged to the Renaissance master Cimabue from the 13th century. He had made it as part of a multi-part altarpiece. The painting of the French woman was called The taunt of Christ and was the third found plate. 
When the panel was inserted, the woodworm damaged the back, matching the scars of the second painting in the series. Coincidentally, this was also the third piece that was discovered overall. There could still be up to five panels out there. Whoever finds them can visit an auctioneer and withdraw with millions.
8 John the Baptist was once painted over Jesus
In the scheme of things, pictures of Christ could be considered more important than those of John the Baptist. A 16th century artist disagreed. His name is lost in time. The person's decision to wipe Jesus in favor of John also remained undiscovered for a long time.
However, the unknown artist created a masterpiece. The painting depicted John, who clasped his hands in prayer on the day of his beheading. Time didn't do the job well. In 2019, Northumbria University scanned the damaged canvas to start the restoration process. 
When examining the X-ray, the original painting was created. It was a crib. Nestled in a crib, Jesus was surrounded by an angel, a wise man and possibly a shepherd. A stable building stood in the background.
The discovery added further questions to the painting's murky past. The year the crib was painted and by whom it remains unclear. Why it was covered up with John the Baptist is another scratch that will likely never be answered.
7 A black Jesus was shot
In 2019 a painting was prepared for an exhibition in Sheffield. Once the artist Lorna May Wadsworth saw a bullet hole in the canvas. The painting is based on The Last Supper and the artist used real models to represent Jesus and his followers. For Jesus, Wadsworth used the Tafari Hinds born in Jamaica.
Experts identified the weapon as an air rifle. Since the picture was directed towards the image of the Hinds, Wadsworth was asked whether she considered the act to be racially motivated. She replied that it was "too terrible to think about". 
In fact, she angered the whole thing so much that she almost pulled the painting out of the exhibition. Only the realization that the vandalism was probably due to such a step stopped her.
Ironically, the bullet went through the right side of Jesus, where he had received the famous spear wound.
6 The Buttocks Time Capsule
In 2017 a wooden statue arrived in Madrid to be restored. The life-size Jesus was carved in the 18th century. The larger religious works of art used to be hollow. This made them easier to move and less prone to cracking. However, this Jesus had cracked around the buttocks. During the restoration, a team member was surprised to find that the statue's butt was a time capsule.
Someone had stuffed two scrolls into it. The writer called himself Joaquin Minguez in careful hands. He was the prior of the church where the statue was kept in 1777. Minguez talked about everyday things. People had a short fever. They hunted and grew crops. Earthquakes shook the country. Oddly enough, Minguez also mentioned that the monks loved ball games and card games. 
Most likely, Minguez created the scrolls for future generations. In this way, they could look into the past and see his world. To meet the prior's intentions, the team replaced the scrolls in the statue. They also inserted their own letter describing the modern era.
5 The Last Supper Error
The Last Supper is one of the most famous paintings in the world. But even though it's the center of films, books, and countless studies, it remains a mystery. What menu did Leonardo da Vinci have in mind when he painted his masterpiece? In 2016, a study found the most likely menu.
Archaeologists dug deeply into what was then Palestinian cuisine. They considered that dinner was informal and that Jesus followed Jewish customs. The study was largely based on the Bible, Jewish scriptures, historical records, and eating habits of the first century AD.
As it turned out, da Vinci didn't know what he was doing. He was a great artist, but he was too busy painting the Eucharistic ritual to put the right food on the table.
Indeed, the table appears to be empty for 13 people who are about to eat. The only plates contain insignificant amounts of food. The right dinner would have had wine on the table. Unleavened bread, lamb, and a bean stew would have provided enough substance, while olives, fish sauce, and dates would have provided variety. 
4 Crib family in captivity
During the Christmas season 2019, many dusted off their cribs and arranged them in the traditional way. The Claremont United Methodist Church did something else. Mary, Joseph and Jesus were divided into individual cages.
Nothing in the ad pointed directly to US President Donald Trump's immigration policy, but the message was clear. The Holy Family had also been an immigrant. Had they crossed the U.S.-Mexico border today, they might have been taken to various detention centers. 
The decision to use the crib as a silent protest was inspired by children with a migration background. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, more than 5,000 children were separated from their parents on the U.S.-Mexico border from mid-2017 to the end of 2019.
The community, both online and locally, had mixed reactions. Some were offended or angry. But many people appreciated the point the church was aiming for. No matter what happens, families shouldn't be forced apart.
3 Secret of the Sphere
Leonardo da Vinci painted Salvator Mundi around 1500 AD. The portrait showed Jesus, who was holding a glass ball in his hand. Experts have been confused for decades. The ball was missing certain things. For one thing, the glass didn't distort anything. The robes just behind the ball looked just like the rest of Christ's clothes. In addition, the curved surface did not reflect light as expected.
Da Vinci was not a fool. Liberties with the Last Supper menu can be excused. Perhaps the food was symbolic, or he lacked the resources to investigate. But a bullet wasn't something he could have stumbled upon. There was a reason why this object didn't distort or reflect anything.
Scientists discussed their options. Some said that Master intentionally painted the ball incorrectly. Other theories related to a hollow object or a rock crystal. In 2020, the University of California found the answer. A 3-D computer rendering of the ball showed that the hollow ball was a match. 
Far from making a blooper, the results again proved that da Vinci was a talented scientist who was perfect at understanding the optical properties in this case.
2 Da Vinci struggled with a masterpiece
Given Leonardo da Vinci's reputation, it is hard to imagine that he struggled with his paintings. In 2019, a scan showed that even legendary masters have bad days. The painting was the world famous Virgin of the Rocks . The artwork shows how Mary and baby Jesus are worshiped by an angel and John the Baptist.
The painting is faithful to da Vinci and a masterpiece. But when a London gallery scanned the surface with X-rays, a completely different scene emerged. The mutilated figures showed da Vinci's indecisiveness. He had changed positions twice before he was satisfied. Had he chosen one of them, today's Jungfrau would have been completely different.
In the earliest version, Christ and the angel were placed higher. The angel also holds him in a much closer hug. Then da Vinci changed everything. This second attempt was just before the final painting, but there were significant differences. The angel had more hair and Jesus looked at another part of the painting. 
1 Jesus Might Have Been Sexually Abused
Sexual abuse has many faces. Some argue that stripping someone naked, even if nothing else happens, counts. When researchers looked at the art of crucifixion, most showed that Jesus was humiliated in this way. The artists did not follow an unfounded idea. The Romans really stripped the prisoners naked before they were executed.
Researchers needed this connection between stripping and abuse to cope with a crisis. In the past, Catholic leaders had had a lackluster response to survivors of sexual violence, especially when priests were the perpetrators. The fight goes on. However, if Jesus can be recognized as a victim, it could change the way the Church handles abuses.
Male survivors were interviewed during the 2019 study. Those who have never experienced this type of trauma could easily dismiss the idea of stripping as sexual violence. After all, it is not about rape or even petting. 
When the victims were asked whether forced nudity could be viewed as abuse and Jesus as a victim, most were initially surprised. However, they finally agreed, saying that acknowledging Jesus' plight would give the Church more solidarity with the survivors.