The Evolution of Christian Art

The most common items in this art are the images of Jesus and those from the narrative scenes of his life, images of saints and Virgin Mary, which are more common in the Roman Catholicism than in Protestants. Comparing the three main religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, this sacred art is mostly used in Christianity while Judaism and Islam are opposed to it. Renaissance art on the other hand is the sculpture, decorative arts and painting of the period referred to as the Renaissance in the European history.

Art history

The oldest of ecclesiastical art dates back to the origin of Christianity. Some of the oldest paintings are from the Megiddo site which was dated back to year 70. The oldest sculpture dates back to the 2nd century. Most of the Early Christian paintings were recovered from tombs in Catacombs of Rome. These paintings depict the evolution of depiction of the image of Jesus. Majority of the art that survived the Roman Empire fall is the Christian art.

This is mainly because the church ownership continuity preserved the church art well than the secular works. Regardless of the fall of political structure of the Western Roman Empire during the fall of Rome, its religious pecking order funded and commissioned the production of religious art images.

During the Byzantine Empire, ecclesiastical art developed from the naturalism established within Hellenistic art into a more conceptual aesthetic. This new style saw proportions, color and realistic perspective forgone in order to have reverse perspective, standardized conventions and geometric form simplification to depict events and individuals. Standardization of the religious imagery came as a result of the controversy about the use of graven imagery, Byzantine Iconoclasm crisis and interpretation of the Second Commandment.

The Byzantine art came to an end during the collapse of Constantinople in the year 1453. Orthodox art however continued with production with minimal changes in style and subject to the present day. Russia gradually became the leading production center of the Orthodox art. The production of monumental secular works increased in the West during the Renaissance until the Protestant Reformation. This reformation led to a decline in production of sacred art in the protestant countries. It also led to the destruction of such art in those countries. In Catholic countries however, production of this art continued over this period. Later on, Catholic art was better controlled than before.

Art is Christian and reveals in its beauty, the inner likeness of the radiance of grace. This is the case especially if the art is made from a heart that is suffused by grace. The beauty of art work is Christian if the artist is strictly disposed towards the beauty. The quality of Christian art is therefore a reflection of love it issues from.

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