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Visual Arts
Kristin Patterson

Christianity grew as a religion after Constantine’s rule. Romans tended to separate ethics from religion. Christianity and Judaism believed in encompassing ethics and religion together. Jewish Art: Synagogue at Dura Europas, interior west wall, c. 244-45 CE: This was destroyed. The second temple was destroyed by Titus and commemorated in the arch of Titus. Unique synagogue due to the images. You could portray stories about the old testament or Torah. Some of the figures are identified with Greek inscriptions. Three levels of painting. In the center there is the Torah in each in the form of a scroll. The people would gather to read the Torah. This would have been an upper class style in the view of many. Very little 3D, or depth to this work. These are religious stories, not everyday life. Moses giving water to the Twelve Tribes of Israel, Dura Europas, c. 245 CE: An outline or schema of what is taking place. Common to pick a moment in a story that would act as a remembrance. Moses is represented in the center. Figures around Moses stand with their arms up (this represents giving or receiving, symbolizing their devotion). Moses gives water to the 12 tribes during a drought. Wears a Roman toga, has a bearded appearance. In 249 a new emperor took power, this emperor forced all people to make sacrifices to the Roman empire so they could achieve greatness again. Christians did not agree with this, but were persecuted if they did not give to the Roman gods. Early Christian Art: Priscilla Catacombs, Rome: Underground tombs or rooms. Niches that are cut out of rock that would have contained the Christian dead. Located on the outskirts of Rome. Earliest examples of Christian art. Chambers were made for well to do families. They would own entire rooms. The cross meant a number of things. Crucifixes were not seen until much later. Chi-Rho Monogram detail from sarcophagus, c.340 CE: Very important symbol of the presence of Christ. The fish symbol was also very important, used to determine friends from foe. Cubiculum of Leonis, Catacomb of Commodilla, near Rome, Late 4th century: Many of the early paintings can be interpreted in a number of ways. A lot of the artists hired would have been recently converted to Christianity, they were coming up with a new type of art. The early representations of Christ had him clean shaven, youthful, sometimes carrying a book. Meant to represented the bounty and fertility that came from Christianity. On the left in the corner there is a depiction of St. Peter, who wants to baptize people, but has no water. He hits a rock with his staph and water begins to flow. Narrative within Christian art. The Good Shepherd, from Asia Minor (Modern Turkey), c. 280-290 CE: This is a smaller relief figure. A literary description of Christ. This type of sculpture would have been seen in Roman gardens earlier on. Reconstruction drawing and plan of the Old St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome 320-327 CE: Around the time of Constantine you begin to see the building of churches. Unlike Greek and Roman temples which were focused on housing a cult statue of some sort. Christian churches were made to house lots of people to pray and worship together. Very large open spaces. Money for this was largely from Constantine. Saint Peter was Christ’s first apostle. Became a prototype for other churches. Has an alter which is the main focus, located at the east end. Main unique features are the long nave, the aisles on either side of the nave. The aisles would have had clerestory windows to let light in. The exterior was plain brick, but the inside would have been mosaics, marble, etc. This entire building was demolished in the 16th century in order to build a brand new St. Peters. Santa Costanza, Rome, 350 CE: Circular in nature. Built for Constantine’s daughter. Central plan churches would have had the greek style of cross. Central space is surrounded by ambulatory which is space for walking around. Used for processions and services. As Christianity became accepted there was a need for a new symbolic language. Byzantine Art: Maudsoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna, c. 425-6 CE: Founded by the empress. The outside of these buildings were plain on the outside, decorated on the inside. All done with small pieces of tile to depict art. The Good Shepherd, Mosaic in Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, c. 425-6 CE: Some effort is made here to
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