I can't believe how fast my order came in. I just starting reading my email and my order already arrived about an hour ago. Thanks so much.

Elizabeth Saddle Brook, NJ

More Testimonials »

Styles & Periods

Styles & Periods

Early Christian Art

Though artists of the Early Christian period (29-526 A.D.) used some of the artistic techniques of their Roman neighbors, their concerns were very different.  Artists of the Greek and Roman traditions sought to express what they saw, using sophisticated techniques of foreshortening and shadowing, and developing a deep understanding of how to portray human physiology.  Christian artists, in contrast, focused on art, not for art's sake, but as a teaching tool; they wanted to convey meaning.  Because of the Biblical commandment against worshipping idols, Early Christian artists were careful not to show images of God or Christ himself, and it was feared that a surfeit of realism would confuse new converts accustomed to ornate statues representing deities.  Later, a deep rift would develop between the Eastern and Western branches of Christianity and their respective approaches to "icons" or holy pictures.  For Early Christians, realism and artistic drama were not the goals; instead, they aimed for simplicity and clarity. Art needed to illustrate key Christian concepts, or serve the illiterate as narratives of Christ's miracles.  Until Emperor Constantine¹s conversion to Christianity and the Edict of Milan, which made Christianity the state religion of Rome, early Christians were a persecuted minority and their art was typically executed discreetly. While Early Christian art can seem primitive or unskilled compared with Greco-Roman art, it wasn¹t a lack of ability, but rather a difference in aim, which informs early Christian work.  In the mosaics of fourth century Ravenna, for example, skill and a familiarity with Greco-Roman techniques are evident, but the aim is clarity, not artistry.  The dove, the Good Shepherd, Christ's feeding of the multitudes with loaves and fishes, and the deliverance of the faithful from fire are all typical of the symbolic narratives of Early Christian art.


Feeling inspired? Try out these fine products…

Up to 30% Off

Acrylics Unleashed

by Search Press

Learn composition, color mixing and how to find inspiration.

From $2.59

Graduate Acrylic Paint

by Daler-Rowney

Fast drying, durable, and flexible acrylic paints

From $18.39

Fearless Watercolor for Beginners

by North Light

Adventurous painting techniques to get you started.

From $8.99

Premier Themed Colored Pencil Set

by Prismacolor

All the pencils you'll ever need in convenient themed sets.

Up to 52% Off

Caballo Easel

by Best

Elegant and versatile

Up to 43% Off

Performance Series Layout Bond Pads

by Strathmore

Experiment affordably with Strathmore

Latest Product Reviews

I liked this apron because it sturdy, well made and the pockets are deep. The price is right.
- Carol Mitchell in South Carolina
For many years I used the Elegant Writer pen for calligraphy. But the last few years I have been using it for creating art work. Check out my blog on www.myelegantwriter.com Or just google elegant writer to see how many people are using the pen in various ways. It's fun and an inexpensive way to make art.
- Phyllis L in North Dakota
This is amazing for drill making for marching bands.
- Tony in Oakland, MD

Free Download for Kids

Download free coloring book pages Download FREE coloring
book pages to color at
home or school.

View Pages »

Please wait...
Please wait...