Early Christian Culture

Report
Early Christian Culture
Christianity and the Arts
Music
 Associated with
paganism so banned
from Christian
worship
 Vocal music



Gregorian chants
Plainchant (plainsong)
Monophonic until the
12th century
Theater
 Actors could not be
baptized
 Theater virtually
disappeared until the
10th century
Gregorian Chant
“Alleluya, vidimus stellam”
What to listen for:
 Monophonic texture
 No instruments
 Wavelike tones
 Narrow range
 Responsorial (solo followed by chorus)
“O Successores”
Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)
O successores fortissimi leonis
inter templum et altare—
dominantes in ministratione eius—
sicut angeli sonant in laudibus,
You successors of the mightiest lion
between the temple and the altar
you the masters in his household
as the angles sound forth praises
et sicut adsunt populis in adiutorio,
vos estis inter illos,
qui haec faciunt,
sempter curam habentes
in officio agni.
and are here to help the nations,
you are among those
who accomplish this,
forever showing your care
in the service of the lamb.
Early Christian Art
Painted Ceiling,
4th C. AD.
Catacombs of
SS. Pietra
Early Christian art found mostly in catacombs
 Similar to Roman painting, but more symbolic
 Circles suggest the dome of heaven
 Old & New Testament imagery

Catacombs
Sarcophagus of Julius Bassus, 359 CE

Sculpture took a secondary role during
early Christian art
Old St. Peter’s, Begun 333 CE

Roman Basilicas served as a model for new
Churches
• Large, uninterrupted interior
• Imperial feel that linked Christianity with
its new role as state religion
San Vitale of Ravenna, Italy
Byzantine in design
 Mosaic representations of Bible stories
 Christ depicted as royalty
 Second story gallery for female
worshippers
 Mosaics of Justinian and Theodora
 Combines Royal power and Church power

San Vitale

Justinian with Bishop
Maximian, clergy,
courtiers, and
soldiers.

Theodora with courtiers
Christ as the Good Shepherd Mosaic, Ravenna.
Illuminated Manuscripts
Prototypes of mosaics
were illustrated
manuscripts
 Duplication of holy
text on a vast scale

Vienna Genesis, 6th C, CE
Illuminated Manuscritps
Written in silver (now
turned black) on
purple vellum
 Brilliantly colored
illustrations

Vienna Genesis, 6th C. CE
The Ascension, folio 13v,
Rabbula Gospels, 586.
Scenes from the Book of
Kings, folio 1 r, Quedlinburg
Italia, c. 425-50.
Aberdeen Bestiary
Aberdeen Bestiary. (Left – Jesus; Right – Phoenix rising).
Hagia Sophia
Architects: Anthemius of Tralles and
Isidorus of Miletus
 Built in 6 years.
 Domed basilica – rectangular hall with a
dome in the center
 Pendentive construction.

 Dome:
180 feet in height
Hagia Sophia
Christ
6th century
Painted wooden panel
St Catherine's Monastery, Sinai
Image of Madonna
and Child

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