Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pagan Influence in the Christian Cultural Art

When referring to "early Christian art," one has to remember that is the meaning of art created by Christians in the 3rd and 4th century, and not the Christians that followed Jesus of Nazareth when he was alive. You also have to remember that Pagan means, "rustic," or "country-dweller," The term is usually used to describe Pre-Christian Europeans with a polytheistic or animistic, or spiritualistic based religion. In short, non-Christian. Even though history shares the persecutions of both of these cultures, the pagans did attribute some knowledge in art that the Christians borrowed, or stole. An example, is Jesus being depicted as the "Good Shepard," which should be familiar to anyone following ancient Greek sculpture, where the young man is carrying a sheep around his neck. Also the fact that Zeus, was first to be claimed as the almighty and all-powerful god. The top god among gods. Which the Christian God, is claimed to be the almighty and powerful God, even though early Christians thought it was against their beliefs to show an image or symbol that represented their God as an icon. Early Christian work was also thought to have originally been pagan, but bought by the Christians in order to produce Christian meanings on the art pieces. (Also called pagan iconography, which means "image-writing." Since Christianity was largely accepted by the lower class, this meant less money, and in the long-run, less durable materials for the art to have survived this long, which makes a shortage of the earlier works.

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