The Routledge Handbook of Early Christian Art surveys a broad spectrum of Christian art produced from the late second to the sixth centuries. The first part of the book opens with a general survey of the subject and then presents fifteen essays that discuss specific media of visual art—catacomb paintings, sculpture, mosaics, gold glass, gems, reliquaries, ceramics, icons, ivories, textiles, silver, and illuminated manuscripts. Each is written by a noted expert in the field. The second part of the book takes up themes relevant to the study of early Christian art. These seven chapters consider the ritual practices in decorated spaces, the emergence of images of Christ’s Passion and miracles, the functions of Christian secular portraits, the exemplary mosaics of Ravenna, the early modern history of Christian art and archaeology studies, and further reflection on this field called “early Christian art.” Each of the volume’s chapters includes photographs of many of the objects discussed, plus bibliographic notes and recommendations for further reading.
The result is an invaluable introduction to and appraisal of the art that developed out of the spread of Christianity through the late antique world. Undergraduate and graduate students of late classical, early Christian, and Byzantine culture, religion, or art will find it an accessible and insightful orientation to the field. Additionally, professional academics, archivists, and curators working in these areas will also find it valuable as a resource for their own research, as well as a textbook or reference work for their students.
1. Introduction: The Emergence and Character of Early Christian Art, Robin M. Jensen;Part I: Media; 2. Catacomb Painting and the Rise of Christian Iconography in Funerary Art, Norbert Zimmermann; 3. Christian Sarcophagi from Rome, Jutta Dresken-Weiland; 4. Early Christian Sarcophagi outside of Rome, Guntram Koch; 5. Freestanding Sculpture, Heidi J. Hornik; 6. Christian Wall Mosaics and the Creation of Sacred Space, Sean V. Leatherbury; 7. Christian Floor Mosaics: Modes of Study and Potential Meanings, Rina Talgam; 8. Gold Glass in Late Antiquity, Susan Walker; 9. Engraved Gems and Amulets, Jeffrey Spier; 10. Reliquaries and the Cult of Relics in Late Antiquity, Erik Thunø; 11. Ceramics in the Early Christian World, John J. Herrmann, Jr. and Annewies van den Hoek; 12. Panel Paintings and Early Christian Icons, Katherine Marsengill; 13. Christian Ivories: Containment, Manipulation, and the Creation of Meaning, Niamh Bhalla; 14. Textiles: The Emergence of a Christian Identity in Cloth, Jennifer L. Ball; 15. Early Christian Silver: Sacred and Domestic, Ruth Leader-Newby; 16. Early Christian Illuminated Manuscripts, Dorothy Verkerk; Part II: Themes; 17. Early Christian Art and Ritual, Michael Peppard; 18. Picturing the Passion, Felicity Harley-McGowan; 19. Miracles and Art, Lee M. Jefferson; 20. “Secular” Portraits, Identity, and the Christianization of the Roman Household, Mark D. Ellison; 21. The Mosaics of Ravenna, Deborah Mauskopf Deliyannis; 22. Early Christian Art and Archaeology in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Rome, Janet Huskinson; 23. “Early” “Christian” “Art”, Robert Couzin; Index
“Combining coverage of the major media of early Christian art and a selection of key themes and issues, this volume of contributions by a galaxy of experts is a treasure-trove for the study of its specific subject and also for wider historical work on early Christianity. Those new to the visual culture of early Christianity will find this a competent guide, and students and scholars of early Christian art also will find here a resource to consult on many matters.” —Larry Hurtado, University of Edinburgh, UK
"This volume certainly plugs a gap in the market. But it also does much more besides: it will be the first point of call not only for advanced undergraduate and graduate students, but also for specialists seeking up-to-date surveys and bibliographic overviews." - Michael Squire, Kings College London