For much of human history it is the visual depictions which have the most to tell us about how previous generations lived. From Raphael’s frescos at the Vatican, showing how the Renaissance master saw the ancients, to ancient cave paintings in France, it is primarily and most often drawings which show us the past.
Sometimes these depictions are confusing to modern observers, as they seem to show either devices we do not believe the ancients had access to, or otherwise they depict things which are wholly baffling to us. And across human history the depiction that seems to span the most amount of time is that of what we, with our modern eyes, would call a UFO.
In the title painting by Italian artist Piero della Francesca for example, a familiar shape appears to be hiding in the cloud cover to the right. Some may dismiss this apparent UFO as a modern take on what are clearly clouds. Others might ask: why is the UFO of pop fiction so similar to this painting, when they are hundreds of years apart?
Here are six more examples of a UFO depicted in art throughout history.
1. The Crucifixion of Christ, 1350
2. Panicale’s Miracle of the Snow
3. Madonna with Saint Giovannino
4. Coccius’s Woodprint
5. The Baptism of Christ, 1710
6. The Svetitskhoveli Crucifixion
Top Image: Piero della Francesca’s Exaltation of the Cross, with what appears to be a UFO observing from the clouds on the right (Piero della Francesca / Public Domain)
By Joseph Green