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Ch 7 Jewish, Early Christian & Byzantine Art

Dawn Nicole Hamby
by Dawn Nicole Hamby on 9 October 2012

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Transcript of Ch 7 Jewish, Early Christian & Byzantine Art

Jewish, Early Christian
& Byzantine Art Guiding Questions:
1. How did aspects of Jewish & Early Christian art develop from the artistic traditions of the Roman world?

2. How did Early Christian and Byzantine artists use narrative and iconic imagery to convey the foundations of the Christian faith for those already initiated into the life of the Church?

3. How does the form of buildings created for worship reflect their function?

4. What was role of images in the devotional practices of the Byzantine world? Why was there a brief interlude of iconoclasm? What impact did iconoclasm have?

5. What artworks show the growing Byzantine interest in conveying human emotions and representing human situations when visualizing sacred stories? Building on Roman traditions Foundations of the Faith Created for Worship Iconoclasm Human Interest N: David Battling Goliath
D: 7th cen. AD (629-630)
M/T: Silver
L: found in Cyprus
C: displayed in home of owners
M: proclamation of wealth, education & refined taste, may have also represented emperor & his enemies (Heraclius in single combat with Persian general Razatis) Judeo-Christian subject portrayed in
a style developed for Classical heroes "Patrons saw no conflict... To them, this Jewish subject, created for a Christian patron in a pagan style, would have attracted notice only because of its sumptuousness and its artistic virtuosity." p. 217 Do you think 7th century Christians
were playing "fast and loose" with their faith?
What would be another reason for appropriating the Classical style? 1 Sam. 17:41-51 N: Menorahs & Ark of the Covenant
D: 3rd cen. AD
M/T: wall painting
L: Jewish catacomb in Rome Jewish Catacombs "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth." - Exodus 20:4 Why would Jews create images
of things "on earth beneath?" What Roman traditions were
Jews appropriating?
Why do you think they did so? Jewish Synagogues Wall with Torah Niche, 3rd cen. AD
House-synagogue in Dura-Europos, Syria Study of the Torah = Worship Detail of a wall painting from
house-synagogue in Dura-Europa (3rd cen. AD) "Scenes from Jewish history and the story of Moses... unfold in a continuous visual narrative... employing the Roman tradition of epic historical presentation." p. 220 Why would Jews appropriate
Roman pictorial traditions? Jews also appropriated the Roman basilica form for their synagogues.
(see Beth Alpha Synagogue, p. 221) Syncretism - process in which artists assimilate images from other traditions and give them new meanings Pagan - Apollo, Hermes the shepherd, Orpheus among animals, personification of philanthropy

Christian - Psalm 23, Jesus as Good Shepherd
(John 10:11-16) "Such images do not have a stable meaning, but are associated with the meaning(s) that a particular viewer brings to them. They remind rather than instruct." p. 222 Do you agree that we cannot assign meaning to a syncretic artwork? House-Churches - Red cross above the door
- assembly hall could seat 60-70 people
- separate room for baptism
- walls were decorated with scenes of Christ's miracles & resurrection
- "lunette" features Good Shepherd with his flock with Adam & Eve "Even this early in Christian art, sacred spaces were decorated with pictures proclaiming the theological meaning of the rituals they housed." p. 223 Cubiculum of Leonis, Catacomb of Commodilla
D: late 4th cen. AD
L: near Rome Icons - images that symbolize core concepts and values of religious tradition Narrative - images that tell
a story with instructional
or theological value Icons & Narrative "In both icons and narrative images, the works of art take on meaning only in relation to viewers' stored knowledge of Christian stories & beliefs." p. 224 Sarcophagii N: Sarcophogus of Constantina
D: c. 350 AD
M/T: carved porphyry
L: Santa Costanza N: Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus
D: c. 359 AD
M/T: carved marble Sarcophagus with the Triumph of Dionysus
Roman, c. 190 AD, marble
p. 206 "The artists and patrons chose to assert the glory of Jesus Christ in mosaic, the richest known medium of wall decoration, in an imperial image still imbued with pagan spirit but now signaling the triumph of a new faith." p. 233 N: The Good Shepherd Lunette
D: c. 425-426 AD
M/T: Mosaic
L: over the entrance, Oratory of Galla Placida N: Christ Enthroned, Flanked by Angels, St. Vitalis & Bishop Ecclesius
D: 547 AD
M/T: mosaic
L: Church of San Vitale, Ravenna Icon or Narrative? "A youthful, classicizing Christ appears on axis, dressed in imperial purple and enthroned on a cosmic orb in paradise, the setting indicated by the four rivers that flow from the ground underneath him." p. 239 What does theological meaning does this mosaic communicate?
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