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Christian Art: History & Theology. The beginnings of Christian art: from catacombs to basilicas. Iconoclastic Controversy. John of Damascus’ defense of icons. Functions of the icons in the Church. Apse mosaic. St Catherine's Monastery, Sinai. c. 565/6. . Cryptic art of the catacombs.

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christian art history theology

Christian Art: History & Theology

The beginnings of Christian art: from catacombs to basilicas.

Iconoclastic Controversy.

John of Damascus’ defense of icons.

Functions of the icons in the Church.

Apse mosaic. St Catherine's Monastery, Sinai. c. 565/6.

cryptic art of the catacombs

Cryptic art of the catacombs

6 Sinai Christ

Catacomb of Domitilla. Rome. 3rd c.

christ s appearance hinted at christ as
Christ’s appearance hinted at. Christ as…

Catacomb of Domitilla. Rome. 3rd c.

christ teaching apostles
Christ teaching apostles

Catacomb of Domitilla. Rome. 3rd c.

this is plotinus and his students

And this is…

This is Plotinus and his students

Church of St Julia, Brescia. Ivory panel. ca. 360-70.

this is jesus too believe it or not
This is Jesus too (believe it or not)

Rome, Museo Nazionale Delle Terme, ca. 350.

christ surrounded by apostles
Christ surrounded by apostles

Basilica of St Pudenziana, Rome, ca. 400.

youthful christ
Youthful Christ

Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna, 522-47.

the dominant image in the byzantine period
The Dominant Image in the Byzantine period

Christ Pantokrator. Hagia Sophia, Instanbul, ca. 1185

reasons for the outbreak of iconoclasm
Reasons for the outbreak of iconoclasm

Reaction to the loss of Eastern provinces to the Arabs

reasons for the outbreak of iconoclasm1
Reasons for the outbreak of iconoclasm

Reaction to the loss of Eastern provinces to the Arabs

reasons for the outbreak of iconoclasm in the 8 th c
Reasons for the outbreak of iconoclasm in the 8th c.
  • Emperor’s attempt to break the power of the monastic institutions
  • Reaction to the loss of Eastern provinces to the Arabs
  • Impact of Islam upon Emperor Leo III
iconoclastic council in 754
Iconoclastic council in 754

Sum up the arguments of the iconoclasts against the use of icons.

Iconoclasts destroying icons. Chludov Psalter c. 850-75.

questions continued
Questions continued…
  • According to the iconoclasts, what is the only admissible representation of the incarnation?
  • What practical recommendations did the council make?
slide24

The Theotokos and Child (replacing a cross) 787-97 and 11th cent. Apse mosaic. St Sophia, Thessaloniki.

The Cross, after 740. Apse mosaic. St Irene, Istanbul.

iconoclastic controversy timeline
Iconoclastic controversy timeline
  • 726 Emperor Leo III (717-741) issues a ban on all religious imagery
  • 754 Iconoclastic council summoned in Constantinople
  • 787 Second Council of Nicea defends the use of icons
  • 843 Iconoclastic period ends. Empress Theodora allows the restoration of icons.
john of damascus 675 749
John of Damascus (675-749)
  • Brought up at the court of the caliph of Damascus
  • Resigned his position and entered monastery of St. Sabbas c. 726
  • Wrote On the Orthodox Faith
  • Defended icons (seminar)
defense of icons by john of damascus
Defense of Icons by John of Damascus
  • State John’s arguments for the use of icons.
  • Which position, iconoclast or iconodule, do you find most convincing? Why?
functions of icons in the church summary
Functions of Icons in the Church:Summary
  • “The Bible for the illiterate”
  • Means of remembrance
  • Theology in color
  • Windows into the kingdom of heaven
  • “Crutches of prayer”
  • Photograph-portrait-icon: similarities and differences
portrait artist s workshop painted sarcophagus detail 1st century ad kerch bosporan kingdom
Portrait Artist's Workshop. Painted Sarcophagus (detail). 1st century AD Kerch, Bosporan Kingdom