Early Christian Art
EARLY CHRISTIAN ART

Early Christian Art
Byzantine Art
Early Christianity
One, the decision of Apostle Paul to spread
Christianity beyond the Jewish communities of
Palestine and...
During Roman Empire
Roman empire
Christian art was necessarily and deliberately
ambiguous
using pagan imagery but had special meaning
for Chri...
Hercules killing the serpent - Jesus triumphing
over Satan
Peacock - ‘resurrection’
Fall of the Roman Empire

After the Eastern capital was established in 330 AD, Roman
Empire functioned as two separate sec...
Decline of Roman empIre

During the decline of the
Roman Empire, a new source
of power was born: The
Christian Church
Chur...
Characteristics of Christian
Art
Characteristics
Early Christian artists show little interest in the
beauty strength and grace of the human body.
Main inte...
Why did Early Christian Art Develop?

Importance of images in the Greco-Roman
culture
Aside from images, changes in burial...
Symbols
Early Christian Art
Ichthys
Ichthys (ΙΧΘΥΣ) translates to ‘Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior’
I (iota) is the first letter of Iēsous, Greek for ...
Ephesus
Peacock
The Good Shepherd
Anchor
Dove
Chi rho

xP
combined Greek letters
used as a monogram
Frescoes
Frescoes

Churches then were normal houses converted
as a place of worship
Frescoes portray simple Biblical scenes
Jonah Vomited from the Whale,
Catacomb of Sts. Marcellinus and Peter,
3rd century Rome
Daniel in the Lion’s Den
Noah Praying in the Ark
Moses striking the rock in the desert
Catacomb of Domitilla
Three Hebrews in the Furnace
architecture
Architecture
Under imperial sponsorship, Early Christian
architecture flourished throughout the empire
on a monumental sca...
1. Basilica
The basilica is an ancient
Roman building type which
early Christian churches
were based
It has a long central...
Basilica Plan
Saint AppolLinare
Ravenna, Italy
Ravenna, Italy
Church of Nativity
Church of nativity
2. Centralized Building
Baptisteries, mausoleums, and martyria or
martyr shrines were built in centralized form
Circular o...
Santa Constanza, Rome
Mausoleum, 354 AD
Mosaics
Mosaic - decoration with small pieces of glass
and stone set in cement.
Walls are richly decorated with mosaics, p...
Galla Placidia Mausoleum
Ravenna, Italy
Sta. Pudenziana, Rome
Apse Mosaic
Meanwhile in Byzantium...
In 285, Emperor Diocletian divided the Roman
Empire between eastern and western halves.
Emperor ...
Meanwhile in Byzantium...
Eastern part of the Roman Empire remained strong and unified, it
continued to thrive for another...
Byzantine Art
Byzantine Architecture
Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia or ‘Holy Wisdom’ was built in
Constantinople (now Istanbul) between 532 and
537 under Emperor Ju...
Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia’s most
impressive feature is the
huge dome. The dome rests
on 4 huge piers, massive
vertical pil...
Hagia Sophia
Use of piers and arches for the
dome allows erection of
thinner walls and more
windows to light the interior
...
Hagia Sophia
served as a former Orthodox basilica, seat of the
Patriarchate of Constantinople, Roman Catholic
cathedral, m...
Hagia Sophia
After Constantinople was conquered by Ottoman Turks under
Sultan Mehmed II, the building was subsequently con...
Characteristics of Byzantine Art

The most salient feature is the Byzantine
‘abstract’ or anti-naturalistic character
Aban...
Mosaics in Hagia Sophia
Mosaics are large and brilliantly colored
One mosaic shows the Virgin Mary and Christ Child betwee...
Christ Pantocrator in the
upper southern gallery of the
Hagia Sophia in
Constantinople
He is flanked by the Virgin
Mary an...
Mosaic of Justinian I
Ravenna, Italy
Ravenna
In the Italian city of Ravenna, Byzantine style
was still obvious.
Ravenna became the Western Capital, isolated
an...
San Vitale Church
Ravenna, Italy
San Vitalle Church

526-547 AD, built under Emperor Justinian I.
Characteristics: domed, centralized, octagonal core
San Vitale Interior

Choir and Apse
Emperor with the archbishop, deacons, soldiers and attendants
Body language = bishop is leader of all people, including
em...
Theodora and her attendants
Halo around their heads = symbol of virtue and innocence
Galla Placida
Ravenna, Italy
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
Fa124   1 - early christian art
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  • Roman Catholics and Greek Orthodox
  • two important moments played a critical role in the development of early Christianity.
    Paul spread Christianity to the cities of the ancient Mediterranean world. Paul encountered the religious and cultural experience of the Greco Roman world. This encounter played a major role in the formation of Christianity. Christianity in its first three centuries was one of a large number of mystery religions that flourished in the Roman world.
  • Roman empire, persecution. Romans hate all religions that are monotheistic in nature
  • Until Constantine made Christianity the official religion of Rome, Christian art was limited to the catacombs and their secret places of worship (titulae)
  • Borrowed motifs from pagan culture
    Peacock flesh doesn’t decay after death
  • East and West each has its own emperor.
    After a long struggle, the Western Roman Empire fell to barbarian invaders.
  • Roman Emperors = power was taken by popes
  • model of people to follow as the sure way to attain salvation
  • As Christianity gained converts, the new Christians had been brought up on the value of images in their culture.
  • or ‘theo’ means ‘god’
    several of Jesus’ disciples were fishermen
    miracle of turning loaves and 2 fish to feed 5000 people
  • …when a Christian met a stranger in the road, the Christian sometimes drew one arc of the simple fish outline in the dirt. If the stranger drew the other arc, both believers knew they were in good company.
  • symbolizes resurrection and eternal life, immortality
  • Probably the most common of symbols
    a beardless youth in pastoral scenes collecting sheep,
    similar to the Kourus figures
  • Anchor signifies hope
    The first century symbol wasn't the cross; it was the anchor
    maybe because the cross is too related to criminals
  • first two letters of Christ
  • Jonah Vomited from the Whale, Third century, Rome, Catacomb of Sts. Marcellinus and Peter
  • Christ among his apostles
    How is Jesus portrayed during Early Christian Art?
    Christianity at its purest
  • Bethlehem, Palestine
  • Tomb of Constantine’s daughter, Constantia
    circular shape with dome supported by a barrel vault
  • 5th-century Galla Placidia mausoleum in Ravenna, Italy, contrasts with the stark simplicity of the plain brick exterior. This contrast is typical of Early Christian architecture. The mosaic from the entrance wall features Jesus Christ as the good shepherd.
  • Christ and the Apostles in the Heavenly Jerusalem
  • Constantinople is now ISTANBUL
    It flourished until the Fall of Constantinople under Turkish Ottomans
    During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe.
  • Anthemius is a mathematician while Isidore is a physicist
  • considered as the epitome or perfect example of Byzantine architecture
    used to have the largest collection of holy relics
    The bells, altar, iconostasis, and sacrificial vessels were removed and many of the mosaics were plastered over. Islamic features – such as the mihrab, minbar, and four minarets – were added while in the possession of the Ottomans
  • T
  • Hagia Sophia’s most impressive feature is the huge dome. It’s dome rests on four huge piers, massive vertical pillars, that support arches made of cut stone.
  • The use of piers and arches in the construction of Hagia Sophia’s dome allows the erection of thinner walls and add more windows to light the interior of the church.
    Supporting the dome’s great weight are four pendentives, the triangular portions at the corners of each arch.
  • Orthodox basilica, mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul
  • a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. From the date of its dedication in 360 until 1453, it served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and seat of the Patriarchate of Constantinople,[1]except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire. The building was a mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931, when it was secularized. It was opened as a museum on 1 February 1935.
  • Mosque for five centuries
    principal mosque in Istanbul and became the basis for all other mosques
  • Blue Mosque or Sultan Ahmed Mosque
    ‘atbang’
  • The most salient feature of this new aesthetic was its “abstract,” or anti-naturalistic character.
    If classical art was marked by the attempt to create representations that mimicked reality as closely as possible,
    Byzantine art seems to have abandoned this attempt in favor of a more symbolic approach.
    More religious than aesthetic.
    Subject matter are often combined
  • Virgin Mary and the Christ Child between two figures.
    left figure - emperor Justinian carrying a small church
    right figure - Emperor Constantine is bearing a small city.
    The emperors are proclaiming the loyalty and dedication of the church and state to the Virgin and Christ.
  • The most famous of the surviving Byzantine mosaics of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople - the image of Christ Pantocrator on the walls of the upper southern gallery. Christ is flanked by the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist. The mosaics were made in the 12th century.
  • also holding some ‘oriental’ influence to art
    lost its naturalistic appeal
  • Byzantine style was not only limited to the Eastern half of the Empire. Contacts and trade between East and West were not wholly broken off and maintained until the middle of the fourth century A.D.
    In the Italian city of Ravenna, Byzantine style was more obvious. Ravenna became the Western capital because it was isolated and seemed a safe refuge from barbarian invaders.
    Although Ravenna was captured in A.D. 476, it was recaptured by the Eastern emperor Justinian in A.D. 540. It remained under Byzantine control for the next two centuries.
  • Byzantine style was not only limited to the Eastern half of the Empire. Contacts and trade between East and West were not wholly broken off and maintained until the middle of the fourth century A.D.
    It remained under Byzantine control for the next two centuries.
  • finest example of Western Byzantine architecture
    dome, centralized, polygonal
  • San Vitale became the most famous church at that time.
  • The bodies of the most important people overlap those of the lesser ones. The archbishop’s leg is in front of Justinian’s cloak. This denotes that in spiritual matters, the bishop is the leader of all people including the emperor.
  • On the opposite wall, facing the emperor and his party, are Justinian’s wife ,Theodora, and her attendants.
    proclaims that they are marked for future sainthood.
  • Fa124 1 - early christian art

    1. 1. Early Christian Art
    2. 2. EARLY CHRISTIAN ART Early Christian Art Byzantine Art
    3. 3. Early Christianity One, the decision of Apostle Paul to spread Christianity beyond the Jewish communities of Palestine and into the Greco-Roman World. Ephesus, Corinth, Thessalonica, Rome Emperor Constantine accepted Christianity and became its patron
    4. 4. During Roman Empire
    5. 5. Roman empire Christian art was necessarily and deliberately ambiguous using pagan imagery but had special meaning for Christians Earliest surviving Christian Art are in the walls of Christian tombs in the catacombs of Rome
    6. 6. Hercules killing the serpent - Jesus triumphing over Satan Peacock - ‘resurrection’
    7. 7. Fall of the Roman Empire After the Eastern capital was established in 330 AD, Roman Empire functioned as two separate sections, East and West In the West, emperors gradually lost their influence and prestige. Soon, The West fell to Barbarian Invaders. Emperors lost their power. The church, governed by popes, assumed its place as the central authority in the West.
    8. 8. Decline of Roman empIre During the decline of the Roman Empire, a new source of power was born: The Christian Church Church was the dominating power
    9. 9. Characteristics of Christian Art
    10. 10. Characteristics Early Christian artists show little interest in the beauty strength and grace of the human body. Main intention is to illustrate the power and glory of Christ Christian art was meant to tell the story of Christ’s life here on earth.
    11. 11. Why did Early Christian Art Develop? Importance of images in the Greco-Roman culture Aside from images, changes in burial practices have changed from cremation to inhumation
    12. 12. Symbols Early Christian Art
    13. 13. Ichthys Ichthys (ΙΧΘΥΣ) translates to ‘Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior’ I (iota) is the first letter of Iēsous, Greek for ‘Jesus’ Chi (ch) is the first letter of Christos, Greek for ‘Anointed’ Theta (th) is first letter of Theou, Greek for ‘God’s’ Ypsilon (y) is the first letter of yios, Greek for ‘Son’ Sigma (s) is the first letter of Soter, Greek for ‘Savior’
    14. 14. Ephesus
    15. 15. Peacock
    16. 16. The Good Shepherd
    17. 17. Anchor
    18. 18. Dove
    19. 19. Chi rho xP combined Greek letters used as a monogram
    20. 20. Frescoes
    21. 21. Frescoes Churches then were normal houses converted as a place of worship Frescoes portray simple Biblical scenes
    22. 22. Jonah Vomited from the Whale, Catacomb of Sts. Marcellinus and Peter, 3rd century Rome
    23. 23. Daniel in the Lion’s Den
    24. 24. Noah Praying in the Ark
    25. 25. Moses striking the rock in the desert
    26. 26. Catacomb of Domitilla
    27. 27. Three Hebrews in the Furnace
    28. 28. architecture
    29. 29. Architecture Under imperial sponsorship, Early Christian architecture flourished throughout the empire on a monumental scale Two Building Types: Longitudinal Hall or Basilica Centralized Building or Baptistry, Martyrium or Mausoleum
    30. 30. 1. Basilica The basilica is an ancient Roman building type which early Christian churches were based It has a long central hall, separated from side isles by rows of columns Nave or Bema or Apse raised platform where the altar typically stood Roofed porch or narthex where people enter Atrium - square courtyard Old Saint Peter’s
    31. 31. Basilica Plan
    32. 32. Saint AppolLinare Ravenna, Italy Ravenna, Italy
    33. 33. Church of Nativity
    34. 34. Church of nativity
    35. 35. 2. Centralized Building Baptisteries, mausoleums, and martyria or martyr shrines were built in centralized form Circular or polygonal The object of veneration visible to the faithful from the cloister or aisle circling the site.
    36. 36. Santa Constanza, Rome Mausoleum, 354 AD
    37. 37. Mosaics Mosaic - decoration with small pieces of glass and stone set in cement. Walls are richly decorated with mosaics, placed on walls where lights from windows and candles caused them to flicker and glow mysteriously.
    38. 38. Galla Placidia Mausoleum Ravenna, Italy
    39. 39. Sta. Pudenziana, Rome Apse Mosaic
    40. 40. Meanwhile in Byzantium... In 285, Emperor Diocletian divided the Roman Empire between eastern and western halves. Emperor Constantine I transferred eastern capital from Nicomedia to Byzantium which became Constantinople Constantinople ‘City of Constantine’ or ‘New Rome’.
    41. 41. Meanwhile in Byzantium... Eastern part of the Roman Empire remained strong and unified, it continued to thrive for another millennium. Constantinople, the capital became the largest city in the medieval world and a great cultural center with grand public buildings and art treasures. The art glorified Christian religion Justinian I reconquered most of western Mediterranean including north Africa, Italy and Rome
    42. 42. Byzantine Art
    43. 43. Byzantine Architecture
    44. 44. Hagia Sophia Hagia Sophia or ‘Holy Wisdom’ was built in Constantinople (now Istanbul) between 532 and 537 under Emperor Justinian I. Innovative Byzantine technology allowed Anthemius of Tralles and Isidore of Miletus to design a basilica with an immense dome over an open, square space.
    45. 45. Hagia Sophia
    46. 46. Hagia Sophia Hagia Sophia’s most impressive feature is the huge dome. The dome rests on 4 huge piers, massive vertical pillars that support arches made of cut stone. It is the finest example of a centrally planned Byzantine church.
    47. 47. Hagia Sophia Use of piers and arches for the dome allows erection of thinner walls and more windows to light the interior of the church Four pedentives support the dome’s great weight, triangular portions at the corners of each arch.
    48. 48. Hagia Sophia served as a former Orthodox basilica, seat of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, Roman Catholic cathedral, mosque, and now as a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. epitome of Byzantine architecture.
    49. 49. Hagia Sophia After Constantinople was conquered by Ottoman Turks under Sultan Mehmed II, the building was subsequently converted to a mosque. Bells, altar, iconostasis, sacrificial vessels were removed mosaics were plastered over Islamic features such as the mihrab, minbar and minarets were added.
    50. 50. Characteristics of Byzantine Art The most salient feature is the Byzantine ‘abstract’ or anti-naturalistic character Abandoned realistic attempt in favor for symbolism. Subject matter: Primarily religious and imperial
    51. 51. Mosaics in Hagia Sophia Mosaics are large and brilliantly colored One mosaic shows the Virgin Mary and Christ Child between two figures. The left figure is Emperor Justinian carrying a small church, while Emperor Constantine is bearing a small city. The message of the mosaic clearly tells the emperors are proclaiming the loyalty and dedication of the church and state to the Virgin and Christ.
    52. 52. Christ Pantocrator in the upper southern gallery of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople He is flanked by the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist. 12th century
    53. 53. Mosaic of Justinian I
    54. 54. Ravenna, Italy
    55. 55. Ravenna In the Italian city of Ravenna, Byzantine style was still obvious. Ravenna became the Western Capital, isolated and safe refuge from barbarian invaders. Captured in 476 AD but recaptured by Justinian in 540 AD.
    56. 56. San Vitale Church Ravenna, Italy
    57. 57. San Vitalle Church 526-547 AD, built under Emperor Justinian I. Characteristics: domed, centralized, octagonal core
    58. 58. San Vitale Interior Choir and Apse
    59. 59. Emperor with the archbishop, deacons, soldiers and attendants Body language = bishop is leader of all people, including emperor
    60. 60. Theodora and her attendants Halo around their heads = symbol of virtue and innocence
    61. 61. Galla Placida Ravenna, Italy
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