Ancient Christian Art Essay

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Prehistoric and Primitive Art:
Paintings in the prehistoric era i.e. during 1400 to 9500 BC were generally done in huge limestone caves that served as habitation. Cave paintings have been discovered in Northern Spain and Dordogne Valley of South-West France. The Paleolithic art that flourished in this region is termed as the Franco-Cantabrian school. The paintings during this period were done for magico-religious purpose. The art of the Franco-Cantabrian school consists entirely of paintings of animals functioning as icons that played a role in dramatic rituals invoking success in the hunt and in animal fertility. Two cultures developed during this period the Aurignacian culture and the Magdalenian culture.
 The Aurignacian
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Christianity was prohibited in the Roman Empire so the Christian art could not be done in public. The most significant difference between the Roman art and Christian art was that the Christian art never focused upon the grace and power of the human body rather it focused upon the grace and power of God. Christian Art came into public domain after Constantine proclaimed Christianity to be the official religion of Roman Empire in 313 AD. The design of Churches were similar to Basilica which were large spacious meeting halls of the Roman Empire. The use of statues to represent Gods in Churches was quite controversial because statues reminded them of the graven images so how can the idea of one Almighty and Invisible God be incorporated into Statues. But the use of art of religious propagation resumed when Pope Gregory advocated the idea that illiterates can be made to understand religious beliefs via art. But for this to happen the art must be simple and expressive. The walls of the Churches were decorated with murals. The most important characteristics of Christian art are: They are simplistic and expressive in nature, a strict frontal view is incorporated in all the images, there is no illusion of depth in the images and realism of Roman art is completely wiped out to give way to simplistic art for the propagation of Christian Ideals. One of the most important painters during this time is

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