Christianity was integral to European culture, and the life of Christ was understood (as it is still) as an essential embodiment of Christian teachings. This explains the prevalence of scenes from Christ’s life in European art, and yet there is more to the story. In a society that laid great emphasis on religion and required religious images, artists performed an indispensable service and had to work within the structure of tradition. It is often assumed that such conditions would stifle creativity, but thoughtful observation shows that this is not so. The most ambitious illustrations of Christ’s life show full-blown inventiveness, and even lesser examples demonstrate the fruitful interaction of the artist’s imagination and society’s requirements.