Excrpted from Back to Godhead Magazine 1971, Vol. 1, No. 39
One of the basic principles of Krsna consciousness is that one may utilize whatever talent he has in the service of the Supreme Lord. And it is a symptom of a bona fide spiritual master that he is expert in engaging everyone in practical transcendental devotional service. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has thus engaged a number of very talented artists in the service of the Lord by asking them to use their natural artistic inclination in painting pictures of the Supreme Godhead. According to all the revealed Vedic scriptures, God is not formless or void, but on the contrary He has the most attractive personal form. In fact He has many transcendental forms. Krsna appears and expands Himself in multi expansions and incarnations, and these are described in Vedic literatures such as Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam.
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has written many books and continues to translate authoritative books about Krsna for the benefit of all mankind, and he has requested that this transcendental literature be profusely decorated with illustrations. His Divine Grace has also founded many temples of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, and these are transcendental centers where men and women may come and engage in spiritual life by seeing the form of the Lord. Therefore paintings are needed in all the temples, as well as for illustrations in books. For these two reasons an art department has been set up in ISKCON for production of Krsna-katha art (art based on the pastimes of Krsna).
If a painting is done according to authoritative descriptions, it has the same potency as the Deity. According to the Srimad-Bhagavatam such paintings, when painted under authorized direction, in devotional service, are also considered incarnations of the Lord. In other words, Krsna is personally present in a picture of Krsna.