So maybe you were bored one night and decided to watch Ancient Aliens or another one of these documentaries about extra-terrestrials.
A lot of their claims are just silly, but maybe you perked up when you saw them claim that medieval Catholic art – including paintings of Jesus and Mary – depict flying saucers with aliens inside flying around in the sky.
And their examples looked pretty convincing!
Here’s a famous example:
This painting is near the altar at Visoki Decani Monastery in Kosovo. The supposed UFOs are in the top corners on each side. You can even see figures inside piloting them!
Here’s another one:
This is the The Madonna With Saint Giovannino from the 15th century. If you look closely, you can see what appears to be a UFO flying behind the Blessed Virgin Mary on the top right. Here’s that part zoomed in:
It looks pretty convincing, doesn’t it!
And there’s a lot more where that came from.
Here’s what’s really going on
In the first case, the flying objects represent the sun (left) and the moon (right). The idea that there are people inside them piloting them comes from ancient mythology and is just stylistic.
In the second case, the strange looking object is the angelic hosts that appeared to shepherds around the birth of Christ. You’ll see angels depicted in a similar fashion in other paintings.
All of the common examples of supposed UFOs or aliens in medieval paintings have similar explanations.
So, sorry to spoil the fun, but these things are not UFOs, flying saucers, or aliens!