Early Christian art is defined here as the art produced in Europe from the 3rd century to the 7th century. Christian art in this period from about 550 is classified as Byzantine or Byzantine influenced. Although Early Christian art spread across the Mediterranean, our presentation is limited to the art from the territory of the western half of the Roman Empire, particularly Italy and the western Mediterranean. As an exception, some important buildings from Constantinople and a brief description of Coptic art are included in the present and the architecture sections. In this section we present paintings, mosaics, and sculptures; the illuminated manuscripts from this period are treated together with all manuscripts in the Illuminated Manuscripts Section, while Early Christian architecture can be found in the Architecture Section of our collection.
From the first three centuries of the Christian era little of the art has survived, partly because of persecution and consequent destruction, partly because many of the earliest Christians were poor people and slaves. However, the earliest surviving examples of Christian art predate by many years the official recognition of Christianity as a permitted religion in 313.
Switch to Dual mode browsing.
|Early Christian art|
|Various sculptures||4th-6th centuries|
|Catacomb paintings (introduction)|
|Catacombs of Domitilla||2nd-4th centuries|
|Catacombs of Marcellinus and Peter||2nd-5th centuries|
|Catacombs of Priscilla||2nd-3rd centuries|
|Catacombs of St Callixtus||2nd-3rd centuries|
|Catacomb of Via Latina, Rome||4th centuries|
|Other catacombs in Rome||3rd-4th centuries|
|Mosaics in Rome (introduction)|
|Santa Costanza||4th centuries|
|Santa Maria Maggiore||432-440|
|Santi Cosma e Damiano||526-530|
|Other Roman churches||3rd-7th centuries|
|Mosaics in Ravenna (introduction)|
|Mausoleum of Galla Placidia||425-450|
|Orthodox and Arian Baptisteries||5th century|
|Sant'Apollinare in Classe||6th century|
|Sant'Apollinare Nuovo||6th century|
|Coptic art (introduction)|
|Please send your comments, sign our guestbook and send a postcard.|
© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.