Christian art

From Academic Kids

Christian Art is a broad classification of art that spans across many different christian religions. Per each religious sect, art mediums, style, and representations change; however, the unifying theme is ultimately the representation of the life and times of Jesus Christ and in some cases the Old Testament.

Painting of Basil II, from an  manuscript.
Painting of Basil II, from an 11th century manuscript.


Christian art is a major category of art produced in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. While the Western Empire's political structure essentially collapsed after the fall of Rome, its religious hierarchy, what would become the modern-day Catholic Church and Orthodox Church, was key in funding arts gloifying christianity. As a stable European society emerged during the Middle Ages, the Church led the way in terms of art, using its resources to commission paintings and sculptures. Christian art can also be found in architecture principally in the form of churches, cathedrals, and tombs. The development of Christian art in the Byzantine empire (see Byzantine art) continued the Hellenistic trends previously known. The controversy over the use of graven images and the crisis of Iconoclasm led to a standardization of religious imagery still apparent in Eastern Orthodoxy.

An example of a Russian Orthodox Icon of Mary and Jesus
An example of a Russian Orthodox Icon of Mary and Jesus

Art Mediums

Each Christian religious sect has its own rules defining what is an appropriate way to represent the life and times of Jesus. Differences between mediums and style can typically be attributed to various interpretations of the Bible (the leading christian religious text) and local cultural influences.

Because the art form is so vast, the current list of appropriate mediums can be found in the Christian Art Mediums. The following is an accumulation of those mediums:


A work of christian art, whatever the medium, usually portrays a specific person or religious event. Each masterpiece usually presents symbolism native to that religious sect. There is no unifying or defining "Christian" symbol; for example, the Christian Cross does not look the same throughout christian religions, nor is the Bible the same work of literature for each sect. However, the following are general symbols that are replete throughout most christian works:

See Also


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