What is Early Christian & Byzantine Art?

Early Christian Art

Early Christian art specifies the artwork produced by Christians in the time frame 100-500. Art before 100 could not be distinguished as Christian without uncertainty. Beyond 500, art by Christians portrayed elements of Byzantine art.

Christian art was difficult to track. One of the reasons is that most Christians were persecuted and were restricted from producing works of art. They may also consisted of lower classes, which is reflected by the lack of patronage for art creation. Aside from that, scriptural restrictions disapproved of production of carved wood or stone in the form of an idol. Christians may have bought pagan symbols, but transferred Christians ideology into them.

Byzantine Art


Byzantine art refers to art created in the territories of the Byzantine Empire between the fourth and fifteenth centuries. The Byzantine Empire was the political continuation of the Roman Empire, and therefore the classical artistic heritage is carried on through Byzantine art. Constantinople, the Byzantine capital, was adorned with large amounts of classical sculptures.

The most prominent feature of Byzantine art was that it became more abstract, favoring symbolism rather than realistic representations.