The Thrivent collection of religious art

The Story

When you think of culturally significant art collections, you might think about places like the Louvre in Paris, the Met in New York, or the Art Institute in Chicago. What might not come to mind is an unassuming corporate building in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. That's part of what makes The Thrivent Collection of Religious Art so unique and special. A marvelous collection of original works of art—tucked away in a corporate building, yet easily accessible to anyone interested in art, religion, history, or culture.

Many corporations have art collections, but the Thrivent Collection of Religious Art is truly distinctive. With over 1,200 objects – spanning the 13th to 21st centuries – it includes objects by some of the most recognized artists in Western art history, from Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt van Rijn to Édouard Manet and Pablo Picasso. With public lectures and gallery shows, traveling exhibitions and educational programming, Thrivent strives to make its collection accessible as a cultural resource for communities across the globe.

Read on about the story

The Art

Religious art has held our fascination for centuries. Art with religious subject matter can tell us stories about who we are, what we believe, and what we feel. By retelling familiar biblical stories through the visual arts, artists may dynamically express and reassert their societal and personal beliefs and spirituality.

Many different cultures and religions in the history of the world have expressed their beliefs through art; the Thrivent Collection of Religious Art, is focused on themes and subjects related to the Western religious tradition. Because the Thrivent Collection primarily comprises works on paper, this website concentrates on the media of original prints and drawings.

Keep exploring the art


Hendrik Goltzius {Dutch, 1558-1617}

Adoration of the Shepherds
{Engraving, c.1598-1600}

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What’s a Nativity scene without the Christ child?

Quite illuminating.

Hendrik Goltzius’s Adoration of the Shepherds is an unfinished artist’s proof. TRY THIS > You can be the artist and complete the scene. Use the simple printmaking tool to draw or write in the empty space of the unfinished proof.

Learn more about Goltzius

Rembrandt Van Rijn {Dutch, 1606-1669}

The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds
{Original copperplate, 1634}
{Etching, engraving and drypoint
, 1634}

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Art Print
Art Copper Plate

In Rembrandt's hands, cold etched copper became radiant light.

The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds exhibits the virtuosity possible in Rembrandt’s technical mastery of the medium. In combining etching, engraving, and drypoint in the copperplate, he achieves a highly tonal effect, with radiantly lit areas of focus on the celestial angel and cherubs, and on the scattered shepherds below.

TRY THIS > Explore the intricate details and dramatic contrasts of light and dark on the plate, then see how they translate to the original etching by moving the hand back and forth.

Read more about Rembrandt

Marc Chagall {Russian-French, 1887-1985}

Moses, from Songes
{Etching and color aquatint, 1981}

Moses carousel image 1
Moses carousel image 2
Moses carousel image 3
Marc Chagall {Russian-French, 1887-1985}
Moses, from Songes
{Etching and color aquatint, 1981}

One prophet. 10 commandments. And two horns.

While translating the story of Moses from the Hebrew Bible into Latin in the fourth century, St. Jerome translated a Hebrew word meaning horned or rays of light, to a Latin word meaning horned. As a result, Moses was often depicted with horns in medieval Christian art. Later, when theologians corrected the mistranslation, artists adapted the iconography into hornlike rays of light. Chagall’s print demonstrates that this tradition endures in imagery of Moses to the present day. TRY THIS > Click the arrows to see other examples of this visual tradition.

Continue to more about Chagall

Hendrik Goudt {Dutch, 1585-1630}

Tobias and the Angel
{Etching and engraving, 1613}

Tobias and the Angel

This is one fish story that really opens eyes.

Fish icon

One of the most important details in this nocturnal scene is the fish being dragged by Tobias. Read the full story and you’ll understand why. TRY THIS > Click on the art and keep your eyes on the fish.

More information about Goudt

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