Shared Flashcard Set


Medieval Art-Exam 1
Late Roman & Early Christian Art
Art History
Undergraduate 2

Additional Art History Flashcards






Arch of Constantine, 312-15, Rome


  • Triple arch, erected by Roman Senate to celebrate Const. victory over Maxentius.
  • incorporated imagery of Hadrian, Trajan, & Marcus--To establish himself as a great Roman emperor, among the most powerful rulers.
  • Constantine appears in the center (only figure not confined by horizontal registers): Frontal Postion separates him from all other figures.
NEW METHOD OF SCULPTING: outlined forms by drilling a series of holes/grooves =>produced deep shadows and strong highlights.
  • forms no longer "classical" or "idealistic"-->move toward the abstract and expressionistic.
  • illusion of substance rather than tangible form
  • forms abstracted from natures symbolized intellectual and spiritual ideals. 


Head of Constantine, c. 325, marble 

  • One of many colossal statues constructed by Constantine.
  • Served as symbols of his imperial presence
  • individual characteristics, superhuman appearance.
  • Eyes: fixed on spiritual source of emperor's rule, looking slightly upward towards gods acknowledged by his reign.


The Good Shepherd, baptistery at Dura Europas, before 256 

  • Depiction of Adam and Eve and Good Shepherd
  • Typology: Fall of man-->salvation through Christ
  • Artist chose to ignore the physical beauty of human beings in an attempt to communicate an important message.
Importance of placement in baptistery:
  • Reminds new christians of their sins
  • Promise of salvation affirmed by St. Paul 


Teacher and Pupils, Orant and Woman and Child, catacomb of Priscilla, 3rd c. Rome 

Decoration in the underground Catacombs:
  • painters worked in current illusionistic style
  • modeling forms w/ loose fluid brush strokes and subtle colors.
Orant figure--Open arms, eyes upward towards God
Woman & Child--could be earliest image of Virgin and Child.
people to the left--historians unsure 


Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, Rome c. 359 

Junius Bassus: 
  • Held one of Highest official positions in Rome.
  • Baptized on deathbead
  •  Carved on 3 sides
  • was placed as near as possible to Tomb of St. Peter in the Vatican
  • Themes: guarantee of salvation; Triumph of Roman Christian Church.
  • 10 scenes from OT & NT framed by columns.
    • Passion cycle
    • Christ enthroned (alike to images of Jupiter)
    • "the handing down of the law"
    • Christ w/ Pontius Pilate
    • Adam and Eve
    • Abraham and Issaic
    • Daniel and Lion
    • Job wifey
    • Peter and Paul martyrdoms 


Old St. Peter’s, Rome, 4th century 

  • Contains the shrine of St. Peter
  • Construction ordered by Constantine
  • Martyrium
  • pilgrimage center
  • funeral basilica
  • church for liturgy
Rebuilt in Ren. to account for growth and evolution of Christian Church.


Santa Costanza, Rome, c. 350 

  • Tomb/Mausoleum
  • Veneration
Had a cenral circular dome, encircling ambulatory.
Sta. Costanza had 2 pagan husbands who may have influenced decoration of tomb.
  • cupid, libations vessels, birds, foliage, grapevine==>could be Bacchic or Christian. 


Vintaging Putti, mosaic from Santa Costanza, 350 c. 

  • Cupids, libation vessels, assorted birds, foliage and grapevine.
  • Mosaic motif is pagan and late Roman Style
  • COEXISTENCE of paganism ad Christianity
(wine could be associated w/ cult of Bacchus or w/ the Eucharist)


Santa Sabina, Rome, 422-432 

Perfect example of a Constantinian/Early Christian Basilica.
Parts to Sta. Sabina:
  • Rectangular nave
  • lower side isles,
  • Clerestory
  • raftered roof
  • semi-circular apse covered by a half dome
  • triumphal arch (juncture of apse and nave walls)
  • murals covering apse and triumphal arch
  • marble 


Santa Maria Maggiore, 432-440, Rome 

commissioned by Pope Sixtus III--was his single most important project.
Took the form of the funerary basilica of the 4th cent.
  • side aisles
  • nave
  • ambulatory
  • ionic colonnade
Has been rebuilt several times over the past centuries.
  • Nave mosaics have the oldest surving narrative cycle from Christian Rome.
  •  OT stories of Abrahame, Jacob, Moses, and Joshua
  • OT patriarchs also interpreted as prefigurations of Chirst
  • Emphasis on allegorical and miraculus happenings (this was a uniquely Christian trait.)
  • NT images: symbolic mode even stronger
  • (Infancy of Christ)
Original apse mosaic had an image of the Virgin as Queen of Heaven--raised to exalted state of the Theotokos.


Infancy of Christ, mosaics from Sta Maria Maggiore, 432-440 

Mosaic on the Triumphal Arch in Sta. Maria Maggiore:
  • figures stand erect & immobile.
  • Hieratic presentation-->large heads block illusionsitic view to the background
  • Proclaim eternal divinty and humanity of christ
  • Role of Mary as Theotokos--mother of God
  • Jesus, depicted as mini adult (not an infant)
  • HUGELY IMPORTANT SYMBOL OF CHRIST'S DIVINITY: a medallion flanked by Sts. Peter and Paul and the emblems of the 4 evangelists, and imperial throne supports a cross, a crown, and apocalyptic lamb--Symbolizes Christ's 2nd coming


Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, c. 425, Ravenna 

A small mausoleum and martyr's chapel, once a part of Galla Placidia's first church--Sta. Croce.
Plan: cross, in which 4 wings lean upon the sides of a higher central block.  Blind arcades.  Arms capped by pediments and tiled roofs. Pendentive dome.
Decoration: lowere walls veneered in veined marble; ornamental & figurative mosaics--> allusion to celestial realm. 
*Thick bricks w/ narrow mortar joints--a style specific to N. Italy 


Mosaic of the Good Shepherd, from the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, 425 c. 

Divine light in golden cross symbolizes Christ's 2nd coming.
**couldn't find additional info in book or in notes. 
Supporting users have an ad free experience!