Have you ever wondered why baby Jesus in that painting from the 12th century looks like a scary old man?

It wasn't an inability to paint cuteness that led to so many Benjamin Buttons. Medieval painters depicted baby Jesus with an older face because they intended to portray him as a homunculus, or Latin for "little man."



 Philosophers at the time believed that Jesus was born "perfectly formed," a combination of baby and child.

 Once places such as Florence, Italy accumulated more wealth during the Renaissance, churches were not the only entities who could afford paintings. People wanted their children to look cute and cherubic, therefore contributing to the style change.

 Medieval artists were less interested in realism and beauty in form, and expression was preferred.