The Characteristics of Roman Christian Art

The artist in this painting is trying to portray a theme of peace standing out in the history of the narrative the mural represents, as well as portraying Samuel larger than any others in the painting to emphasize him. These wall paintings, or murals, have themes relating to the Old Testament. This mural was painted with tempera on plaster around 245-246 CE. It was found in the Synagogue at Dura-Eurepas, Syria and a reconstruction of it can now be found in the National Museum in Damascus.

The statue of Christ depicts him in his youth. He is wearing clothes of Romans at the time: the artist’s intended audience, thus making the figure in the statue one that could be related to by the Romans. He is wearing the Roman tunic, toga, and sandals. In his left hand, he holds an unopened scroll. His head is one of a long-haired Appolo-type youth but his statuary type is more like the bearded Roman philosophers of advanced age.

This 2’4″ tall statue was made with marble around 350-375 CE in Civita Latina, Italy. It can now be found in the Museo Nazionale Romano in Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome.

The next piece is that of the interior of Santa Costanza. The dome shape and columns within the church were designed to focus all attention on the tomb in the center and make the viewing of it accessible from all angles. This church was built around 337-351 CE and stood next to the basilican church of Saint Agnes.

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It is believed to be originally built as a mausoleum Constantina, who was emperor Constantine’s daughter. The mausoleum was then converted into a church.

This piece is of the “Miracle of the loaves and fishes”. The artist portrays Jesus with open arms holding bread and fish to present the miracle of him offering food, and thus the survival to the masses which stand behind him. This mosaic was created in 504 CE and is found in the top register of the nave wall of Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy. Jesus is portrayed wearing the imperial dress of gold and purple. The artist places much detail in the holy character of the event rather than specifics of what is actually happening in the picture.

This next piece is a picture of the interior Hagia Sophia. The superior architecture and design of it reveals the immense skills of the Bysantines and the power the incredible church held for the people of the Christian faith. This building can be located in Constantinople, Turkey and was created in 537 CE. By placing the dome on a square base, Anthemius and Isidorus successfully fused the originally separate architectural traditions into one.

When compared to the other mosaic in the apse, this reveals Theodara as inferior by depicting her outside the sanctuary where Justinian is portrayed inside. This mosaic portrays Theodora and attendants on the south wall of the apse of San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy. It was created around 547 CE. The significant number of colors paints a vibrant picture of the situation. This painting is fictional, however, because Theodora never actually visited Ravenna.

This next figure is a picture of the Dome of the Rock, which was constructed in Jerusalem in 687. The temple’s domed shaped root and vast noble enclosure represent the culmination of several significant facets of the Islamic faith, all of which are located within or below the sanctuary.

The sheer height and design of this structure allow it to be seen unobstructed from far distances, proclaiming the presence of Islam throughout the land. The Malwiya is a minaret of the Great Mosque in Samarra, Iraq. This massive 165 foot tall structure, when it was created in 852, was once connected to the Great Mosque by a bridge. A spiral stepped ramp wraps around the structure leading to the top. This minaret gave birth to inspirations of later European depictions of the biblical Tower of Babel.

This Maqsura of the Great Mosque was created in 965, and as noted, can be found in the Great Mosque in Cordoba, Spain. The elaborate arching architecture and mosaic decorations were incorporated into this building to rival structures created by other civilizations and religious faiths. There is an abundance of rich and varied abstract patterns that enhance the awesome effects of the complex arches.

This carpet was designed to be appropriate for a mosque, by lacking depictions of humans and animals, it leaves its beauty and significance to the viewers interpretation. This carpet, the Maqsud of Kashan, is from the funerary mosque of Shakykh Safi al-Din in Ardabil, Iran. It was made from a knotted pile of wool and silk, and this 34’6″ by 17’7″ was created in 1540. This carpet can now be viewed in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England.

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The Characteristics of Roman Christian Art. (2023, Mar 15). Retrieved from

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