The first Divine Mercy Image was created and painted under the supervision of St. Faustina and her confessor, Blessed Michael Sopocko, in Vilnius. It was completed in 1934 by the artist Eugeniusz Kazimierowski and had underwent enhancements in 2011.
After that, Adolph Hyla painted his interpretation in 1943 and his painting became more popular. Other artists began to improve on his painting. Notably, the Blue Hyla was created with more vibrant colors. Other artists also provided their own interpretations. Those were the early days.
It was only after the Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday was granted to the Universal Church by Pope John Paul II on 30 April 2000, that many more new versions of the image emerged from a new generation of Catholic artists.
These newer versions of the Divine Mercy image made use of the tools and materials available to the artists during their time. There were many paintings in different media – watercolor, oil, pastels, acrylics, pencil, pen. There were also some stained glass pictures. Some were rendered as 3D sculptures in stone, concrete or wood.
The Divine Mercy image has one very special characteristic – it consists of an image of Jesus with rays of light, red and pale blue, emerging from his chest. Without the rays, it would not be the Divine Mercy image.
So even for 3D sculptures, the artists had to include the rays. However, with sculptures, the rays no longer look like rays. They look more like solid structures! Sometimes they can look rather ugly – like a load of heavy sacks hanging from the chest.
Similarly with the 2D paintings. In order to depict the rays as realistically as possible, the artists had to use their skills of matching light colors contrasting against dark colors in order to make the rays look like light. This is quite difficult to execute. The colors also tend to fade with age and the effect seems to wear off.
This was very challenging.
That was until 2020. With new and modern materials available, i.e. LED lights, acrylic transparent plastic sheet, 3D engraving machine, computer, electricity, electronics, etc., I also took up the challenge to improve on the image of the Divine Mercy to make it better.
All this did not just happen by chance. The inspiration to do this was during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown that affected practically all the people in my country. Read about it here.
I made a video to show how the Divine Mercy Image had developed from the beginning until now: