history of christain art

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A Look at Ancient Christian Art


Art, have you ever thought about the word and what it really means?


The word art is defined as the following. Art paintings, drawings and sculptures .Any


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form of human activity that is the product of and appeals primarily to the imagination. So


basically art can be an expression of virtually anything and anyone. The beautiful thing about


art is what the beholder is observing. What I may consider art, maybe a tasteless piece of junk to


someone else. Art is a reflection of the artist thoughts and feelings; art can tell a story and can


actually be a part of history in the times when some cultures didn’t know how to write or read.


So sit back and let’s take a stroll through history with the help of ancient art.


The History of Art


Art was the first written language and to study the history of art is to study the history of


civilizations and humankind. Perhaps the paintings of animals were the focal point of a religious


ceremony or ritual. It appears that art from the earliest history into the Renaissance focuses


around religious ceremonies of some type. Plato believed art to be a form of communication on a


metaphysical level. Aristotle felt that art was a reflection and invocation derived from the


scientific forms of nature. Clearly, his ideology does not fit into the Ancient World’’s artistic


representations.





The architecture form the ancient world throughout history also reflects the cultures


religious beliefs and in most civilizations was designed with humankind in mind. The erection of


the citadels during the Mesopotamia historical era is built to provide protection of the temples


and palaces. They are decorated in relief and personify power, religious themes, and the cultural


beliefs about the human form and its relationship to the universe.


The discovery of Greek/Roman artifacts in the late 1800s became an inspiration for art


and architecture of the 1th and 0th centuries. Therefore, the Greek/Roman cultures are


extremely important in their relationship to our world today. Their similarities in architecture, art,


religion are virtually interchangeable in many aspects as the Romans copied much of the


Greeks culture.


Christian art of the era ordinarily has little perception of depth, in both sculpture and


painting with two-dimensional holy Christian figures having. Often the figures were also viewed


from the side with subject size being determined more by theme than by spatial relationship


within the art. Another thing to keep in mind when looking at the Middle Ages is that most of the


population could not read, that churches, and art in the churches guided the people in worship.


Painting, sculpture and stained glass were visual documentation that all people could understand


in communicating the stories of the early Christian Church. Church and state were essentially


under the same control and only clergy and royal families could read and owned books





Taking a look at some Early-Ancient Art


The sarcophagus is essentially antiquitys marble coffin. It has a variety of sizes ranging


from infants to married couples. Some sarcophagi have sculptured reliefs on all four lateral


panels, including the top cover slab, while others may be limited to three panels or just the frontal


one. The sculptured images of the pagan sarcophagi represented for the most part mythological


stories, while the Christian Sarcopgahi illustrated scenes from the life of Jesus, biblical episodes,


and sometimes the image of the deceased.


The Good Shepherd Vatican Museums


Christian Sarcophagus Vatican Museums


The statues found in the catacombs predominantly are of Jesus, represented as the Good


Shepherd. The artistic model was the pagan figure of Orpheus, with the flute to his side and a


lamb over his shoulder. Although the Christians did not adorn the catacombs with the miriad of s


statues the pagans had, they did adapt Orpheus to represent Jesus as the Good Shepard I am the


Good Shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep knows me. [Gospel of John, Ch.10 ver.14 ]


In Justinian and Attendants, the emperor is surrounded by his courtiers. This mosaic piece


would almost remind you of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples .


In The Crucifixion, Christ is no longer is no longer youthful and serene, but suffering, and


rightful so. This picture captures the real essence of Christ and his purpose . Note the angle like


figures nest to him. They have halo’s


These are just a few that I ‘m going to write about , check out the others that I have printed out.


The art work of today is nothing compared to the art from the past. It represents history and a


walk through time.


I was curious about the halo’s around the head of Christ and then later around the heads


of saints and angles, so I thought I’d check that out and see why and how halo’s came about. Well here’s the scope.


Pre-Christian pagan artists used halos to indicate gods, in later usage, the Roman Emperor


received a halo. Halos were originally blue and surrounded either the head or the whole body.


Christian halos generally surround only the head and they can be almost any color. The halo did


not come into Christian art until the third century, after it had largely fallen out of pagan use. In


the beginning, only Jesus had a halo, whether He was depicted as a man or symbolically as the


Lamb of God. By the fifth century, halos were used for angels and saints as well. Artists used


circular halos for Jesus, angels, and deceased saints, but gave rectangular halos to living people


who were regarded as exemplary in their faith.


About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto


a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes


became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious


splendor, talking with Jesus. ( Luke 8-1a, NIV )


This is the message that we have heard from him and declare to you God is light; in him there is


no darkness at all. (1 John 15 )


There you have it, the scope on the halo’s.


Conclusion


I choose Early Ancient Christian Art for a reason. The reason being is, that even through the


discovery of Ancient Christian art, how can anyone actually deny the existence of Christ and his


purpose? No art is more detailed then that of the time of Jesus and his Crucifixion. It’s as if the


art was meant to be discovered. There is this ole’ saying, “ If these ole’ walls could talk, the


stories they could tell.” Well, that’s just what the walls and panels that have been discovered do,


they tell stories and what stories they tell. I for one cannot and will not deny the existence of


Christ. Can you?


Work Cites


Acknowledgments


Bible quotations taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®®


Bibliography


America’’s Smithsonian. USA Smithsonian, 16 Debeli, Dawn ““Bulging Through History.”.


Williams, Natale. “Art History.” Internet 1. 1-8. http//www.best.com/~natalew/art.html.


(June 16, 000)


http//www.Cyberschool.k1.or.us/-wallace/artline/maintextChrist.htm


http//www.usask.ca/antiqities/Collection/Condemnatioon_Christ.html


http//www. usask.ca/antiqities/Collection/Death_Judas.Html


http//www.etciu.com/MUSEUM/M_HTML/PREVIEWS/archaic_art/PALEO_ART.html


http//www.arthist.cla.umn.edu/aict/html/medieval/ech_byz.html


http//www.ou.edu/class/ahi46/byzhtml/p01-0.html


Acknowledgments


Bible quotations taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®®


Bibliography


America’’s Smithsonian. USA Smithsonian, 16 Debeli, Dawn ““Bulging Through History.”.


Williams, Natale. “Art History.” Internet 1. 1-8. http//www.best.com/~natalew/art.html.


(June 16, 000)


http//www.Cyberschool.k1.or.us/-wallace/artline/maintextChrist.htm


http//www.usask.ca/antiqities/Collection/Condemnatioon_Christ.html


http//www. usask.ca/antiqities/Collection/Death_Judas.Html


http//www.etciu.com/MUSEUM/M_HTML/PREVIEWS/archaic_art/PALEO_ART.html


http//www.arthist.cla.umn.edu/aict/html/medieval/ech_byz.html


http//www.ou.edu/class/ahi46/byzhtml/p01-0.html


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