Christian iconography

Pelican In medieval Europethe pelican was thought to be particularly attentive to her young, to the point of providing her own blood by wounding her own breast when no other food was available. As a result, the pelican became a symbol of the Passion of Jesus and of the Eucharist since about the 12th century. For Christians, Christ is the unfailing hope of all who believe in him:

Christian iconography

Religious symbolism and iconography |

Art and iconography Christian art constitutes an essential element of the religion. Until the 17th century the history of Western art was largely identical with the history of Western ecclesiastical and religious art.

During the early history of the Christian Church, however, there was very little Christian artand the church generally resisted it with all its might. Clement of Alexandriafor example, criticized religious pagan art for encouraging people to worship that which is created rather than the Creator.

There was also little need for Christian art, because monumental churches had yet to be built and there were few wealthy patrons to commission it. By the late 2nd century an incipient pictorial art had appeared in the Christian Church, and by the mid-3rd century art inspired by pagan models as well as Christian themes began to be Christian iconography.

Pictures began to be used in the churches when Christianity was legalized and supported by the Roman emperor Constantine in the early Christian iconography century, and they soon struck roots in Christian popular religiosity.

In early Christian missionary preaching, the Old Testament attacks upon pagan veneration of images were transferred directly to pagan image veneration of the first three centuries ad.

Christians were compelled to venerate the imperial images by offering sacrifices to them; refusal to make sacrifice was the chief cause of martyrdom.

In spite of these very strong religious and emotional restraints, the church developed a form of art peculiar to its needs.

From late antiquity to the time of the Counter-ReformationWestern art was essentially the art of the church; both lay and secular patrons commissioned works of art that illustrated important Christian themes and stood as testimony to their own faith.

Assuming many forms, Christian art could be found in private homes, churches, and public spaces. Churches, themselves artistic triumphs, were adorned with a broad range of art, including statuary, paintings, and stained glass. Another important form was illumination; illuminated manuscripts were prized possessions and often displayed on high holy days.

The attitude reflected in these practices was expressed in the famous dictum of Pope Gregory I, that art is the book of the illiterate; art was thus conceived as having a didactic function. The starting point for the development of Christian pictorial art lies in the basic teaching of the Christian revelation itself—namely, the incarnationthe point at which the Christian proclamation is differentiated from Judaism.

The great theological struggles over the use of images within the church, particularly in the Byzantine Empireduring the period of the so-called Iconoclastic Controversy in the 8th and 9th centuries indicate how a new understanding of images emerged on the basis of Christian doctrine.

This new understanding was developed into a theology of icons that still prevails in the Eastern Orthodox Church in the 21st century. The great significance of images of the saints for the Orthodox faithful is primarily expressed in the cultic veneration of the images within the worship service.

Second, it is expressed in the dogmatic fixation of the figures, gestures, and colours in Eastern Church iconic art. Throughout the centuries the Eastern Church has been content with reproducing certain types of holy images, and only seldom does an individual artist play a predominant role within the history of Orthodox Church painting.

Most Orthodox ecclesiastical artists have remained anonymous. Icon painting is viewed as a holy skill that is practiced in cloisters in which definite schools of painting have developed.

In the schools, traditional principles prevail so much that different artist-monks generally perform only certain functions in the production of a single icon. The significance of the image of the saint in the theology, piety, and liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox Church can be judged historically from the fact that the struggle over holy images within Orthodox Church history brought about a movement whose scope and meaning can be compared only with the Reformation of Luther and Calvin.

In the 7th century a tendency hostile to images and fostered by both theological and political figures gained ground within the Byzantine Church and upset Orthodox Christendom to its very depths; known as the Iconoclastic Controversyit was supported by some reform-minded emperors.

Although opponents of icons had all the political means of power at their disposal, they were not able to succeed in overthrowing the use of icons. The conclusion of this struggle with the victory of the supporters of the use of icons is celebrated in the entire Orthodox Church on the first Sunday of Lent as the Feast of Orthodoxy.

Orthodox icon painting is not to be separated from its ecclesiastical and liturgical function. The painting of the image is, in fact, a liturgical act in which the artist-monks prepare themselves by fastingdoing penance, and consecrating the materials necessary for the painting.

Before the finished icon is used, it likewise is consecrated. Not viewed as a human work, an icon according to 8th- and 9th-century literature was understood instead as a manifestation of a heavenly archetype.

A golden background is used on icons to indicate a heavenly perspective.Art and iconography. Christian art constitutes an essential element of the the 17th century the history of Western art was largely identical with the history of Western ecclesiastical and religious art.

During the early history of the Christian Church, however, there was very little Christian art, and the church generally resisted it with all its might. Illustrated Dictionaries - Table of Contents.. Wikipedia: Saint Symbolism. Iconography in Art and Architecture Study of the symbolic, often religious, meaning of objects, persons, or .

Symbolism of the Biblical World: Ancient Near Eastern Iconography and the Book of Psalms [Othmar Keel, Timothy J.

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Christian iconography

This pioneering work that first appeared in in German was the first to compare the conceptual world of a biblical book with ancient Near Eastern iconography. Early Christian art: Early Christian art, architecture, painting, and sculpture from the beginnings of Christianity until about the early 6th century, particularly the art of Italy and the western Mediterranean.

Early Christian art |

(Early Christian art in the eastern part of the Roman Empire . Saint Agatha: The Iconography In Catania, Sicily, the natal day of St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr. In the time of the Emperor Decius, under the judge Quinctianus, she was beaten, imprisoned, and tortured on the rack.

Christian symbols book online! Over pages dedicated to the meanings of Christian Symbols! With chapters on angels, animals, apostles, crosses, god, halos, holidays, liturgical terms, monograms, objects, old testament, plants and stars!

Iconography in Art and Architecture