Origins of Christian Iconography

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  • Topic: Religion, Iconography, Art history
  • Pages : 2 (653 words )
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  • Published : October 19, 2008
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“Origins Of Christian Iconography”

While the author mentions continuity and renewal that we see in human society in general, he applies the aspect of changing cycle to the art history. In the article, Christian iconography and its development is discussed in order to understand the contexts and meanings expressed in new Christian art, and the process of transformation and its relationship with the new conditions that the contemporary society brings in. Understanding this process, the author claims that the artistic content of Christian art changes its presentation while the image is introduced in different ways, such as in using the method which Manes applied (p.227).

Christian art started to denote Christ and to give characteristics to the ordinary Christian by representing allegorical images instead of dogmatic images. For example, in the third century, the image of Saviour began to appear in various allegories such as Good Shepherd with a lamb that stands for Jesus who saved the lamb. Moreover, the image-makers in the fourth century began to individualize the personal image of Jesus while multiplying instances of the miracles of Jesus. However, in the earliest Christian art, there are small places that are devoted to Christ or to symbols that would represent Christ. (Grabar, 1968).

To get a deeper understanding of the difference between presentations of image presentation, the author points out the historical relationship between the two iconographies, Jewish and Christian. He brings up a question: “Why did the two traditionally aniconic religions, which existed side by side within the Empire, equip themselves with a religious art at the same period?” To find an answer to this question, the author first discusses similarity in the images that each religion presents as well as the differences in them. The resemblance the author mentions is between the synagogue Dura and the Christian catacombs and sarcophagi of Rome.

The author discusses, at...
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