I had this discussion not long ago.
No, the images of Jesus we know today are not based on Cesare Borgia. This claim is embarrassing.
Here are the facts:
- Born 1475
- Died 1507 (age 31)
- Son of Pope Alexander VI
- Cardinal in 1493 (age 18)
- Resigned as cardinal in 1498 (age 23; 5 years)
Here we see when Cesare Borgia lived. Now we see a picture of him:
Interesting, huh? Remind you of Christ? A bit?
Now we see some pictures of Jesus. Before Cesare was an adult. In some cases, before Cesare existed.
- Left: Christ, 4th century
- Right: Christ Pantocrator, Saint Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai, 6th century
- Left: The Tribute Money c.1424-25
- Right: Holy Trinity c. 1427
Both by Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone (Masaccio).
- The Baptism of Christ (1472–75), by Verrocchio and Leonardo da Vinci.
Cesare was not born, or not even two years old, when this was complete.
As we see, these were before Cesare was an adult. The pictures of Jesus look similar.
Not everyone with a beard and hair is Jesus. If anyone wanted Cesare to look like Christ, it was him and/or his father.
When I brought this up to the person in the discussion, he went ballistic. Insults, swearing, pointing out his many degrees, calling me an idiot and many more things. I pointed out it his anger doesn’t change the fact these are before Cesare was an adult or even born in some cases.
He never responded.