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    • #5777
      jlchamberlain
      Keymaster

      Early Jewish and Christian artists assimilated imagery and forms from Roman culture and gave them new meanings. This process, something that we have seen throughout this semester, is a type of syncretism, or the blending of cultures and ideas from different places. Reflect on how this manifests in the artwork we looked at this week?

       

    • #7237
      Kaitlyn
      Participant

      It appears that the Old Saint Peter’s Basilica bears some resemblence to the Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine. The early Jewish and Christian artworks, specifically painting also bears a strong resemblence to the Roman paintings, for instance I looked at the Roman mosaics and saw a similar style in this weeks paintings. It seems like the Jewish and Christian structures were inspired by the Roman architecture with many pieces or structures featuring the dome shape that is commonly seen in Roman buildings. I think the catacombs in the Jewish and Christian culture was a blending of Roman, Etruscan, and Egyptian burial places.

      • #7250
        Laura Barber
        Participant

        Re: Kaitlyn
        The many buildings featured in this section definitely bear a strong resemblance to past cultures and civilizations. There are also images of Roman clothing on some of the older saints.

      • #7289
        Bob Hook
        Participant

        Kaitlyn Great job, I was very focused on the sculptures and the paintings from this period. I appreciate you reminding us of the architecture and especially the Old Saint Peter’s Basilica.

      • #7293
        ckocsis
        Participant

        Kaitlyn- I like how you pointed out the catacombs were a blend of Roman, Etruscan, and Egyptian burial practices. That supports the idea we were talking about a couple weeks ago with each culture being influenced by all the ones before it. Early Christian/Jewish art wasn’t just influenced by Roman art, but by all the art and practices that came before them.

    • #7251
      Laura Barber
      Participant

      The Oratory of Galla Placidia is one example of the integration of cultures and times in religious art. Saint Lawrence is shown wearing traditional Roman clothes in order to show his citizenship and to reference the time period in which Christians were persecuted for their faith. The churches and synagogues also had similar styles to the Romans, and thus also to the many cultures that influenced the Romans. The use of columns and sophisticated catacombs all hearken back to earlier cultures. This continues to take place nowadays, with the influence of earlier Christian and Jewish art remaining prevalent today.

      • #7320
        Lucas Warthen
        Participant

        Hey Laura,

        I also used the Oratory of Galla Placidia in my example of syncretism. The garb that Saint Lawrence wears is extremely indicative of what was happening in his time period. I noticed the columns, as those are very prevalent in much of the roman architecture, but I didn’t even think about including the catacombs. Good points overall!

    • #7257
      Jess
      Participant

      When we are talking about syncretism between the romans and early jewish and christian artists, a great example that comes to mind is the Royal Complex of Herodium. Not only is it in the same shape as the famous Roman Collosium, but it also used and aqueduct to get water into the bath house due to it being in the high desert. There were also columns surrounding the rectangular garden inside the complex.

      • #7344
        rdnelson4
        Participant

        I like your example of the aqueducts being taken from the Romans. This would have been very useful given the arid climate. The Royal Complex of Herodium does very much resemble the Colosseum as well. These are perfect examples of syncretism.

      • #7366
        csayreswoody
        Participant

        Jess,

        Great example. I can see how many buildings and places are similar to each other as well. I also feel that a lot of the artwork after the Roman times is near and dear similar to each other in many of ways.

    • #7260
      Lucas Warthen
      Participant

      Surprisingly enough, there is quite a bit of Roman inspiration in Jewish and Christian works. At the Royal Complex at Herodium, there is a bathhouse built by Herod that is built in Roman custom. Though columns are hardly ‘just’ a Roman thing, they are also present outside of the Temple of Solomon. In one of the Jewish Catacombs, there are decorations in the painting, under the menorahs, that are similar to decorations and art found in Pompeii. The Beit Alpha Synagogue once resembled a Roman basilica, and in the center of its Mosaic the god Helios is present (which is probably the most unique aspect of all of the art we have looked at). Though a minor thing, the Oratory of Galla Placidia depicts Saint Lawrence wearing sandals of Roman origin (as he was a citizen of Rome before his death).

      These are just some things I found, but I thought them to be evident of the influence Rome had for quite some time.

      • #7283
        Miranda Jackovich
        Participant

        To Lucas Warthen
        I thought you used good examples to represent how Roman culture was present in Christian and Jewish art. What aspects of Roman culture do you think had the biggest impact on Christianity and Judaism? Was it art, social structure, practices? Great ideas overall.

      • #7363
        Gabe
        Participant

        Yeah! Those are great examples! I think it goes back to the question that we answered when looking at the Roman section about how Roman influence exists in our culture today. Roman was a monstrous superpower of the time and really defined what power and authority meant and how it looked. It makes sense then that Kings like Herod would try their best to emulated what existed in Rome.

      • #7380
        Miranda Johansson
        Participant

        Lucas – Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this! I agree with you that you can see a lot of influences in the different architectures, especially with the rounded ceilings and the tall steeples.

    • #7282
      Miranda Jackovich
      Participant

      Cultures have been exchanging from each other for thousands of years. The influence amongst societies is a complex structure that is composed of many factors. Art is an output of humans that helps archaeologist track change within a civilization.‘The Oratory of Galla Placidia’ (425-426 CE) of Saint Lawrence have Roman pieces incorporated such as his toga and sandals to represent he was a Roman. ‘The Christian Catacombs’ in Rome are another example of a transitioning culture. The halo around Christs head is also adopted from the Romans. Just like any other culture, Christian and Jewish art is based off of ones before it. Economy, technology, settlement, trade, and social organization has a huge influence on how artforms evolve and transition into other and new cultures.

    • #7288
      Bob Hook
      Participant

      I think that syncretism is prevalent in much of the early Christian art and structures of the time of this time. I think that the Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus offers several examples of this. One of the panels shows Christ’s entry into Jerusalem which is a derivative of Roman imperial art. The “adventous’ was an accepted pattern showing the conquering hero being offered homage as they enter the city. Another panel depicts the Judgement of Pilate. Again this is based on a Roman formula named Justitia, the dispensing of justice. In the original, Marcus Aurelius is seated on a sella curulis and on the sarcophagus it is Pontious Pilate in the role of Roman governor who sits on the sella curulis.
      One final comparison appears as the god Erotus harvesting grapes and wheat. Images from Roman and Grecian art that convey the sense of harvest and seasonal changes. The Christians adopted these images in a third or fourth century C.E. statue. The cherubs are still collecting sheaths of wheat and grapes from the vines. They are shorter and less well-proportioned as Christian images but convey the same harvest scene. I think the continuation of art from the Greco-Roman era into the Christian era is because more art was conserved to be viewed from the Greeks and Romans and a common language was available to describe it. This has provided for a continuation of myths and artistic styles over several centuries.

      • #7328
        tmbergan
        Participant

        Bob, that’s a great piece to use as an example since it does have so many parts that you can examine and find their similarities. I like that you pointed out the Christian adoption of harvesting wheat and grapes — we can definitely see the continuation as the cultures and religions evolved.

    • #7292
      ckocsis
      Participant

      There are many instances of syncretism between Jewish/Early Christian art and architecture and that of the Romans. A good example this is the Royal Complex of Herodium. Herod had a bathhouse built in the traditional Roman fashion, and the overall structure and architecture is very reminiscent of famous Roman structures. Another great example is mosaic at the Beit Alpha Synagogue. The god Helios that is depicted in the center is a very clear sign of Roman influence in the artwork, as well as the overall style of the mosaic being very reminiscent of Roman mosaics.

      • #7381
        Miranda Johansson
        Participant

        Ckocsis – Yes! The Herodian architecture is heavily influenced by the Roman cultures. It is interesting that you say that we can see this in the Beit Alpha Synagogue, but I can see what you are referring to. Honestly, to me this seems like such an “off” piece, since Jewish and Early Christian art seemed to focus a lot on God or individuals who lived for God. This one is interesting, and I would like to see more about it.

    • #7296
      Kaitlyn
      Participant

      ckocsis, since you mentioned it, Helios absolutely is a clear sign of Roman influence. Actually does anyone else thing Helios is kind of out of place in the Christian artwork? I wonder what the backstory is to that piece, it is the only one in the entire collection to show a god.

    • #7298
      Aubri Stogsdill
      Participant

      We do see syncretism through early Christian and Jewish art. One area that I saw this was in the Cubiculum of Leonis, Catacomb of Commodilla, Rome. Christ is Depicted with a halo, which was borrowed from Roman Emperors. Christ is also depicted the way a Greek scholar would have been in order to be understood as a wise person. Also, in the sculpture of the good shepherd, we see Christ depicted carrying a lamb on his shoulders, which was commonly used in Greek and Roman art to depict the pagan sacrifice of a ram. Early Christians used this same motif in order to portray Christ laying his life down for the church. This sort of ‘overlap’ or borrowing from other cultures in art is very prevalent through history and is especially evident in Early Jewish and Christian art.

      • #7329
        tmbergan
        Participant

        Aubri, nice catch! Christ is definitely shown in a way that would’ve been used to depict Greek scholars. You listed a lot of great similarities between the different cultures’ artwork.

    • #7299
      Aubri Stogsdill
      Participant

      RE Laura

      So true! There is still a lot of this same influence on us. Columns aren’t going away any time soon! You are also so right about the catacombs. They certainly resemble ones that have come before them. Great post!

    • #7301
      Valene
      Participant

      In a move of strategic syncretism, the Early Christians adapted Roman motifs and gave new meanings to what had been pagan symbols. This can be seen in the Beit Alpha Synogue which shows the Zodiac symbol. The astrological signs were condemned by the prophets but were widely used as decorative elements in both churches and synagogues of the Byzantine period. It seems obvious that traditional views and past pagan views influenced the art of the new faith of Christianity.

    • #7302
      Tamara Toy
      Participant

      I feel that there are several ways that we see syncretism in this weeks art. For example, in the catacomb of Priscilla, we have a representation of Christ in a contrapposto pose that is almost identical to ones we see in Roman art. The Oratory of Galla Placidia shows a figure of Saint Lawrence, asserting his citizenship in Rome with his toga and sandals, mixing Rome and Christianity, possibly showing this was an important fact. As well, the Synagogue of Dura-Europos and the Beit-Alpha Synagogue show a similar style of storing telling by way of art as the Romans employed, on the walls of these scared places.

      • #7345
        rdnelson4
        Participant

        I hadn’t thought to compare the paintings to statues! I love your example of the contrapposto stance in Jewish and Christian paintings, such as Christ in the Catacomb of Priscilla. I also hadn’t noticed the clothing was the same.

    • #7304
      Aalieyah Creach
      Participant

      Looking through the artwork i noticed that the good shepherd really resembled sculptures from the roman times. With its same attention to detail and its smooth stone texture. There was also the royal complex at herodium. Its structure resembles a lot like the Colosseum that the Romans constructed.

    • #7307
      Maggie May
      Participant

      We see this especially in the architecture of the time, which often resembled or modeled Roman architecture, especially in the churches or basilicas. We can also observe the similarity between art of the time and art of other cultures in the sculpture of the time, which often depicted it’s subject by using similar techniques. We see the subject matter of other cultures and times, though, sometimes altered or brought into a new meaning. Many symbols were adopted and their meaning changed.

      • #7339
        elkingkade
        Participant

        Maggie- while I do agree with you about the subject manner adopted or altered to fit new beliefs I personally think that the similarity in architechture was usually due to the refurbishing of preexisting building or temples.

    • #7309
      Jessi Willeto
      Participant

      I think of the statue of Christ holding the lamb– before it, it was a sign of paganism or was related to other religions or cultures. But now, the lamb is almost always associated with Christianity, as they likened Christ to a sacrificial lamb. There is also Saint Lawrence in the Oratory of Galla Placida, patron saint of chefs, who is wearing sandals and a toga meaning he is a citizen of Rome. This is using well-known Roman culture to further the narrative of Christianity (very clever, at that). Lastly, the depictions of a bearded Jesus are intended to liken him to Greek philosophers to imply his wisdom. Such depictions are still used today, and such hairstyles are very easily associated with Christ.

      • #7603
        Raven Shaw
        Participant

        The depiction of the bearded Jesus may have been to mimic Greek and Roman art, but I think it was most likely a cultural thing in the Middle East. Jesus brushed shoulders with Islam and Judaism, two cultures that traditionally embrace beards. The image of him holding a lamb is associated with sacrifice because that’s what the Roman statuettes were about, but the image of Jesus as a shepherd was to show that he was a badass that protected his followers with his own life. We think of shepherds now as Hallmark Card representations of what they really were. Shepherds carried weapons to defend their sheep from thieves and wolves. They had to be ready to kill, and always be vigilant. Imagine Batman. This is why God favored Abel over Cain for his sacrifices, Abel worked much harder.

    • #7310
      Jessi Willeto
      Participant

      RE: Maggie May
      Oh yes, the architecture is definitely influenced. Similar techniques are interesting historically as it shows how Christianity developed it’s own unique style by at first borrowing from it’s surrounding cultures. But I suppose all cultures revolve and borrow from each other!

    • #7311
      Jessi Willeto
      Participant

      RE: Aalieyah Creach
      I noticed that too! I saw that he had a contrapposto, even though it was a slightly different posture than that of the greek statues. His hair texture was also similar to the ones we studied before, though the face did look a bit different. Beautiful nontheless.

    • #7318
      Dean Riley
      Participant

      I think the most glaring use of syncretism is the use of a shepherd with a lamb over his shoulder to represent Christ being the Good Shepherd and laying his life down for His flock of lambs. Also these sculptures keeping with the ideals of what Romans pictured as beauty also shows the use of syncretism..

    • #7319
      csayreswoody
      Participant

      The Early Jewish and Christian artwork indeed favors some of the early Roman art. Example I think will be the architecture of the temples, colosseums, and other buildings are similar to each other. Say for instance the Temple of Solomon and Arch of Constantine, Rome have similar high columns, the different pictures of people gathering together, the statues and sculptures as the list goes on. Roman art paved the way for the Jewish and Christian Art as well as art that we still see created in todays time.

    • #7327
      tmbergan
      Participant

      We see a ton of Roman influence in the art that we looked at this week, as most pieces have at least one similar aspect to them. One example that stood out was the sculpture of the shepherd boy, as it shows the same ideal, youthful body that we had seen in Roman sculptures. Not only do they use the same body style, but they also use similar curly hair on the piece. There was also signs of their influence in the synagogues (more specifically, the Synagogue at Dura-Europos) where they had visual narratives on the walls around the room as we saw in a couple of examples during our week studying Roman art, as well as the same columns that we saw in a lot of Roman structures.

    • #7336
      elkingkade
      Participant

      I think that we have all seen how new cultures or religions have used previous believe to help convert and fortify their newfound ideals or traditions throughout this entire semester. More specifically this can be seen in the sculpture of the Good Shepard, where Jesus is depicted in the contrapposto positions so often seen in our lessons from Greek and Roman times. Additionally you can see this in the Zociac Mosaic at the Beit Alpha synagogue and at the Catacomb of Commadilla where Christ starts to look more like an early philosopher and is literally positioned in-between the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.

    • #7338
      elkingkade
      Participant

      Jess,

      I really liked how you drew the comparison to the Roman Colosseum it was defiantly something that I did not see until you pointed it out and now it seems like it should have been obvious.

    • #7340
      rdnelson4
      Participant

      I think a lot of syncretism can be seen in early Jewish and Christian artwork. The Sarcophagus of Constantine greatly resembles many of the other richly embellished sarcophagi of other civilizations. A lot of the same technology and architectural developments of other civilizations as well. Bath houses were a Roman luxury that Harod incorporated in the Royal Complex of Herodium, as well as the amphitheater effect very reminiscent of the Colosseum. Many temples, such as the Temple of Solomon, share many similar attributes to those of the Romans, as well.

    • #7348
      Sam Saccomen
      Participant

      Since the beginning of the class we’ve seen syncretism constantly. We see it also now with Jewish and Christian art blending Roman sculptures and their arts into one. We started to see many images of Jesus standing in positions similar to the positions of the Roman sculptures we studied a couple weeks ago. In many images we see similar clothing from Roman and Greek times come back and show how clothing was even blended into these religion.

    • #7349
      Sam Saccomen
      Participant

      Miranda, I really enjoyed your comment about how archaeologist use art to “track change” over time and help us now days understand. I thought you had a lot of great examples that validated your response.

    • #7350
      Lacey Miller
      Participant

      sjsaccomen
      Its interesting to see the roman clothing come into play with the christian art.

    • #7351
      Lacey Miller
      Participant

      Early Jewish and Christian artists assimilated imagery and forms from Roman culture and gave them new meanings. This process, something that we have seen throughout this semester, is a type of syncretism, or the blending of cultures and ideas from different places. Reflect on how this manifests in the artwork we looked at this week?

      It’s interesting to see the syncretism between roman and this Christian art. Despite their varying beliefs, the art we looked at this week carries an abundant amount of Roman influence. The architecture is the most obvious, OLD SAINT PETER’S BASILICA displays the pillars of Roman time nicely. Additionally, the sculpture has a Romanesque flair. THE GOOD SHEPHERD, in particular, is dressed in attire reminiscent of Roman time.

    • #7354
      Guy Gaswint
      Participant

      There are several of syncretism between Jewish or Early Christian art and architecture of the Romans. The Royal Complex of Herodium incorporated a bathhouse bathhouse that resembled traditional Roman architecture. The columns at St. Peters Basilica are very similar to those from famous Roman structures. The Oratory of Galla Placidia shows Saint Lawrence, with a toga and sandals, this appears to be an attempt at displaying that he was a roman citizen. The evolution of art seems to be driven by the evolution of the society around it. We know that throughout history artist have been persecuted if they did not conform to beliefs, values and norms of the time. I feel as if the incorporation of Roman influences was not only due to aesthetics but also used as a way to fit in with societal norms but also to avoid any backlash.

    • #7361
      Gabe
      Participant

      The way in which early Christian depictions of Jesus emulated first the youthful Roman ideal and then the bearded Greek Philosophers is a perfect example of Syncretism. Since Jesus is literally the Son of God, it makes sense that he would take on whatever qualities were viewed as the most ‘potent’ or ‘cool’ at the time. This would probably make him appeal to most people, but I think it probably wasn’t as much a conscious propaganda-type decision as it was people using the imagistic language that they knew to communicated about Jesus. It’s true however that since Christians were persecuted, the artwork had to ‘pass’ as Roman-enough to avoid persecution. Still it’s interesting that our culture still portrays Jesus in a certain way that probably has very little to do with how he actually looked. The images convey the ideas of wisdom and kindness, and honestly at this point ‘Jesus’ is so associated with those images that any new artistic carries of the style is not syncretistically ‘Jesus-like’.

      • #7367
        Valene
        Participant

        Re: Gabe
        It is so interesting how you brought up that the way art was portrayed in these time periods likely influenced what the portrayal of Jesus was. I’ve read a couple articles abut how Jesus could have looked very different than the typical Sunday school images of him or the traditional church art pictures. Always interesting to see how pop culture plays into artistic interpretations.

    • #7379
      Miranda Johansson
      Participant

      I noticed this when looking at the CHURCH OF SANTA SABINA, and reflected on the steeples and vaulted ceilings. This reminded me of Roman or Greek temples a lot. I even thought that the coins were interesting, even though they do not depict a certain emperor, the fact that they would have inscribing on them and a symbol of sorts seemed very Roman.

      Something that definitely reminded me of Greek and Roman art is the THE GOOD SHEPHERD. This statue has typical likings of other statues that have been seen, especially because the boy looks so relaxed and in the middle of doing something. It is not posed at all, it is very “in the moment.”

      It is interesting to me that the Romans and Greeks had such prominent influences on the Early Christian and Jewish people. It does however seem as if the Early Christian art has more synchretism than the Jewish art does. This makes sense to me, since the Early Christians were basically a combination of converted Jews, Romans, and Greeks. In order to be able to communicate to their peers, they probably made artwork to speak about this new religion in a way that seemed familiar to their friends.

    • #7602
      Raven Shaw
      Participant

      The Beit Alpha synagogue incorporated a Mesopotamian zodiac themed mosaic floor, with the sun god Helios in the center. The accompanying inscription is in Greek.

      Herod’s temple makes me think of 11th century C.E. castles built for European rulers. Did both of these things happen around the same time?

      The Royal Complex at Herodium had a courtyard and garden that were surrounded by Corinthian columns, in the style of Greek architecture. He also had a bath house built in Roman style.

      Some of the decorative elements in the Arc of the Covenant and Menorahs looks like art from the Roman city of Pompeii. The catacombs were decorated with symbols and motifs that were generic to Roman culture.

      During the 19th century building boom, Jews built synagogues in various styles, such as Art Deco or Egyptian. I believe having no nation made it possible for them to experiment with many different styles, and contribute to recognition of the cultures the styles came from.

      Jewish coins were actually Roman coins on which Jewish images were stamped. This reminds me of how Islamic temples are built over the destroyed temples of other religions, but much less bloodshed involved. Jews got their system of weights and coins from the Babylonians.

      In the Cubiculum of Leonis, Christian art borrowed the halo from Roman art, and Christ’s dress style from the Greeks. There are letters of the Greek alphabet, and a motif that mimics Roman architecture. Old Saint Peter’s Basilica also mimicked Roman architecture in structure.

      Purely Christian art was forbidden by the Romans, so the image of a man carrying a sheep as used to represent Christ. This would go unnoticed because this was a common symbol representing sacrifice to the gods.

    • #7618
      Kaylyn Kelly
      Participant

      Syncretism is seen through early Christian and Jewish art. The Early Jewish and Christian artwork also throws a roman twist into their art. An example of the early Christian and Jewish cultures throwing a roman art twist into their art is the Good Shepard sculpture. Jesus is in the contrapposto position which is taken from the Greek and Roman cultures. The clothing on this sculpture is also replicating clothing from Greek and Roman sculptures. Another example is the columns at St. Peters Basilica. These columns are almost identical to the columns from Roman structures. The Greek and Roman eras helped boost the growth of art and we can see that now when looking at art that is created years after.

    • #7620
      Kaylyn Kelly
      Participant

      RE: sjsaccomen
      I thought it was so interesting that you put clothing into your discussion. I did not see many others with that observation you came up with. I connected that after you pointing it out and sculptures really did start looking identical because of clothing. Good post!

    • #7945
      Guy Gaswint
      Participant

      Syncretism between Jewish/Early Christian art and architecture and that of the Romans is very evident in the Royal Complex of Herodium. The was built the same way the Romans did it, the whole complex is very similar to Roman architecture. Columns are evident throughout buildings of this period and although are not strictly Roman they were not discarded as cultural advances occurred.

      This blending of the past and the present seems to take place in everything not just art. Suppose we would have just threw away the wheel and started new instead of trying to improve it. Today’s wheel takes on a very similar shape to the original, it is however, much more advanced today than where it came from. Syncretisim is an example of a normal evolution in art.

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