Early Christian art

The  early Christian art was one of the trends and tendencies artistic catapulting what is now known as Christianity , since both emerged at the same time and relied on both to expand and reach all nations .

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What is early Christian art?

It is said that this is a late manifestation of Roman art , however it is considered a style and artistic trend that has its roots in the first five centuries of the era to which we belong with the appearance of Christianity during the time of the Roman conquest, In this way, early Christian art spread throughout the East and to other regions for a long time, until what came to be known as Byzantine art arrived.

  • What does it consist of
  • Characteristics of early Christian art
  • Origin
  • History
  • Stages
  • Symbols
  • Location
  • Sculpture in early Christian art
  • Architecture
  • Painting
  • Goldsmithing in early Christian art
  • Mosaics in early Christian art
  • How is it different from Byzantine art
  • How Christianity influenced early Christian art
  • Early Christian art by country
  • Artists
  • Importance

What does it consist of

One of the greatest objectives of early Christian art is to focus attention on figures and symbols that are relevant to the spirit, sobriety is one of the most relevant things in this, however, although these techniques were somewhat grotesque and crude , like everything Christian movement, the ultimate goal is to impart and spread the knowledge regarding religion , more than that, teach the belief to each individual of the locations he came to so that he did not deviate from the ways of the heavenly father.

Characteristics of early Christian art

Some characteristics of this art are the following:

  • It was born at the time of the Roman conquest.
  • It starts from the first five centuries of our era.
  • It is divided into two stages.
  • It manifests itself through figures and symbols.
  • As the essence of divinity and spirit is impossible to represent, figures and symbols were made that had a relevant meaning.
  • These figures and symbols are generally directed towards the viewer, so that he has a crystalline perception of the belief and its functioning.
  • It is based and based on suggestions, there are no obligated orders or individuals.
  • The variety of its colors is extremely limited .
  • They use catacombs.
  • Figures and symbols are nested , making some more relevant than others.


It had its origin at the time of the conquest of Rome , as a rebellion that started from what society was experiencing at that time, some scholars say that it was the evolution of late Roman art , however, the roots of Christianity prevailing in society had much influence in the development of this artistic trend.


After it had its foundations in Rome , it developed throughout that region in a radical way , reaching every place in the area, being a current that influenced each individual that inhabited that locality, the first manifestations of this trend were highlighted in Rome , it is called early Christian art because its shape and symbolism showed impetus, it could even be said that aggressiveness , thus giving a primitive perspective , but in the same way, with a great message for those who, with the short time of Christianity, already they were devoted to that religion.


This is divided into two main stages:

  • From the 2nd century to 313 , which was the date of the Milan Edict , where all environments were clandestine, full of persecution and barbarism , therefore this current had to be rude in imposing itself against it.
  • From 313 to the 7th century , from this point Christianity was given the free right to express its beliefs and was considered the official religion in the town for the 4th century, at this time Christians take to the streets and its monuments and works they began to abound in every space of the place.


Some of the symbols in this style of art were as follows:

  • The crismón.
  • The fish.
  • The Good Shepherd.
  • The peacock.
  • The prayer.
  • The anchor.
  • Dove.
  • The ship that sails towards the lighthouse.
  • The dove with a triumphal crown.
  • The palm of victory.
  • The phoenix .


The main early Christian demonstrations took place in ancient Rome.

Sculpture in early Christian art

The sculpture of this style was decorated with scholars and sarcophagi , added to these were the chrismon, the strigils and some biblical scenes , which manifested the belief and revelation of religion in human beings.


The architectures that took place since the birth of this artistic trend were the basilicas , which were made in an exceptional way, every detail was taken care of ; to these were incorporated what were the sculptures and the paintings of the same current.


Although this painting was a bit medieval , for the time it was highly relevant, its subject matter and its various teachings on Christian belief left viewers stunned.

Goldsmithing in early Christian art

This type of art hardly stood out at that time, however, it meant in the same way, in favor of the belief in the father, who was Jesus Christ , rough Christianity continued to spread in the streets, manifesting its ideologies and winning disciples for the Lord. , purifying the spirits stained by sin and the temptation of the evil one, in this way I pass from art to goldsmithing to reach more individuals in society.

Mosaics in early Christian art

These took place above all in the basilicas and had a deeply religious content , generally they were made representing the holy supper or some important event embodied in the holy book.

How is it different from Byzantine art

Byzantine art focuses more on what Henelism and Eastern culture is , so it can be said that they were very different , since one was based more on mythology and Paleo-Christianity is based on belief.

How Christianity influenced early Christian art

Christianity in addition to influencing rose alongside this style of art , since its birth was at the same time, belief and art drove each other to make themselves relevant in the eyes of society.

Early Christian art by country

In Latin America, this art overshadowed the others, making it the first style used and also the first religion taught , while in Spain there were many conflicts when it came to being there, however, it reached each individual and was more strong belief and artistic movement that opposed to it, being one of the first used in that location for a long time.


  • June Basso.
  • Sinai Patocrator.
  • Genesis of Vienna.
  • Tralles Antemium
  • Plays
  • The Good Shepherd.
  • Catacomb of Rome.
  • Hemorrhoid healing.
  • Catacombs of Priscilla
  • Sarcophagus of June Basso.
  • Catacombs of San Calixto.
  • Domusecclesiae
  • Basilicas
  • Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls.
  • Basilica of Santa Práxedes.
  • Basilica of Aquilea
  • Basilica of Santa Sabina.
  • Civil Basilica of Constantine.


This type of art was very relevant for society and culture , coupled with it, it was extremely important for what is Christianity today , all belief and religion.


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