o As a new religion coming out of the aniconic background of Judaism and having no clear picture of what Jesus looked like, Early Christianity had to take some of its artistic ideas and symbols from the religious art of Greece and Rome. In your essay, provide examples of at least three “borrowings” of images from Roman art by Early Christian artists. Identify the images that are borrowed, their original religious meanings, and how the Christians gave them new meanings. Explain, where relevant, how the use of these Roman symbols either disguised Christian activity when the religion was illegal, and how it made Christian art appealing to polytheistic peoples as well after Constantine made Christianity the state religion.
o Discuss the symbolic meanings that fifteenth-century viewers would have comprehended in the objects contained in the domestic environments of either the Merode Alterpiece or the Arnolfini Double Portrait. How did the artists make these objects look so real?
o Which three religions lay claim to the importance of the location of “The Dome of the Rock?” Discuss why each of these religions believe this place to be “holy”. Who has control of this piece of land today? Which religion does the iconography of the interior and exterior decoration follow? Discuss these motifs in detail…colors, design, meaning, and whether you think the motifs are successful in telling the importance of “the Dome of the Rock”.
o Asian art combines material splendor and philosophical depth with an affinity for giving visual form to the spirituality of the natural world. Choose two pieces of art/architecture from two different countries that illustrate these qualities. Be sure to list names, titles, artist/architect, patron, country, and purpose of the art/architecture you chose. Discuss how they use/exploit each quality and whether or not you think the creation was a successful blend.
o Depictions of the Virgin Mary holding Jesus represent a continuing theme in the history of European Christian art, developed early on, and even continuing to this day. Describe the relationship between mother and son in each. Characterize the difference in artistic style. How does the choice of medium contribute to the distinction between them?
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