What does it mean "painting of Christians" in the following text?

Does it mean that (a) the painters are Christian or it means that (b) the people in this paintings are Christians? or (c) it means that the owners are Christians? or (d) it is ambiguous?

Where can I find authentic paintings of Christians in the Middle Ages?

If it is ambiguous then if I'l we add the word "image", then it means that the people in this paintings are Christians (as the second meaning above)?

Where can I find authentic paintings with images of Christians in the Middle Ages?

I would like to avoid ambiguity and to know what is the normal way to talk about picture for each of the two meanings.


While it is ambiguous, only one meaning would make sense in context.

While "of" can mean possession, or indicate agency, those meanings are unlikely here. Who would want to find a picture owned by a Christian? The "apostrophe-s" could be used for possession. Agency would normally be indicated with "by".

The expression "picture of X" means "picture showing X". So there is little to no chance of it being misunderstood.

The request is a little odd. I assume "middle age" is an error for "in the Middle Ages" (you don't want images of 40-year-old Christians). Using "Medieval" avoids this. Since nearly everybody was a Christian in Europe of the Middle ages, I'd also guess you actually want a picture of a nun, monk or priest.

So your three meanings could be expressed as:

A painting by a Medieval Christian
A painting of Medieval Christians / A painting of a Medieval monk
A painting owned by Christians in the Middle Ages.

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  • Thank you for the answer. Indeed, I meant to say "in the Middle Ages" I edited my mistake. – Judicious Allure Oct 22 '18 at 19:28

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