In 313, after almost three centuries of precarious existence (and a tradition of art limited to rings, seals, plus some paintings in the catacombs), Christianity was finally permitted to exist. In this year, the Roman Emperors Constantine and Licinius issued the Edict of Milan, which legalized Christian worship. Then, in 380, Christianity's future was assured when Emperor Theodosius I, the last Roman Emperor to rule over all the empire, declared that henceforth it was the empire's sole authorized religion. During the 5th century, under pressure from barbarian attacks, the Roman Empire split into two halves: east and west. The eastern half, centered on Constantinople, adopted the Eastern Orthodox Church, becoming world-famous for its icon painting and mosaics; the western half remained in Rome, and continued to follow the Roman Church. The latter blossomed under Charlemagne and the Ottonians, and fully re-established itself with its huge building campaign of Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals (c.1000-1350). Later, in 1517, the Dutch pastor Luther launched the religous revolution, known as the Reformation, culminating in the formation of a more modest, less hierarchical form of Christianity, known as Protestantism, since when the Roman Church has been referred to as Roman Catholicism. Christian art encompasses both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, as well as the earlier offshoot, the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The gospels offer several clues concerning the year of Jesus' birth. Matthew 2:1 associates the birth of Jesus with the reign of Herod the Great, who died around 4 BC, and Luke 1:5 mentions that Herod was on the throne shortly before the birth of Jesus,[292][293] although this gospel also associates the birth with the Census of Quirinius which took place ten years later.[294][295] Luke 3:23 states that Jesus was "about thirty years old" at the start of his ministry, which according to Acts 10:37–38 was preceded by John the Baptist's ministry, itself recorded in Luke 3:1–2 to have begun in the 15th year of Tiberius' reign (28 or 29 AD).[293][296] By collating the gospel accounts with historical data and using various other methods, most scholars arrive at a date of birth from 6 to 4 BC for Jesus,[296][297] but some propose estimates that lie in a wider range.[q]
For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. ... Scripture Art

1200–50; Middle English < Late Latin Iēsus < Greek Iēsoûs < Hebrew Yēshūaʿ, syncopated variant of Yəhōshūaʿ God is help; in Early Modern English, the distinction (lost in Middle English) between Jesus (nominative) and Jesu (oblique, especially vocative; see Jesu) was revived on the model of Latin and Gk sources; Jesus gradually supplanted the older form in both nominative and oblique
As a secular, non-sectarian, universal notion of art arose in 19th-century Western Europe, ancient and Medieval Christian art began to be collected for art appreciation rather than worship, while contemporary Christian art was considered marginal. Occasionally, secular artists treated Christian themes (Bouguereau, Manet) — but only rarely was a Christian artist included in the historical canon (such as Rouault or Stanley Spencer). However many modern artists such as Eric Gill, Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, Jacob Epstein, Elizabeth Frink and Graham Sutherland have produced well-known works of art for churches.[1] Salvador Dali is an artist who had also produced notable and popular artworks with Christian themes.[2] Contemporary artists such as Makoto Fujimura have had significant influence both in sacred and secular arts. Other notable artists include Larry D. Alexander and John August Swanson. Some writers, such as Gregory Wolfe, see this as part of a rebirth of Christian humanism.[3]
In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his spirit was troubled, and his sleep left him. Then the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. And the king said to them, “I had a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream.” Then the Chaldeans said to the king in Aramaic, “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.” The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, “The word from me is firm: if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins. ... Christian Canvas Art
Of David. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. ... Scripture Art
Prior to the Enlightenment, the gospels were usually regarded as accurate historical accounts, but since then scholars have emerged who question the reliability of the gospels and draw a distinction between the Jesus described in the gospels and the Jesus of history.[264] Since the 18th century, three separate scholarly quests for the historical Jesus have taken place, each with distinct characteristics and based on different research criteria, which were often developed during the quest that applied them.[102][265] While there is widespread scholarly agreement on the existence of Jesus,[g] and a basic consensus on the general outline of his life,[o] the portraits of Jesus constructed by various scholars often differ from each other, and from the image portrayed in the gospel accounts.[267][268]

In the four hundred and eightieth year after the people of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, which is the second month, he began to build the house of the Lord. The house that King Solomon built for the Lord was sixty cubits long, twenty cubits wide, and thirty cubits high. The vestibule in front of the nave of the house was twenty cubits long, equal to the width of the house, and ten cubits deep in front of the house. And he made for the house windows with recessed frames. He also built a structure against the wall of the house, running around the walls of the house, both the nave and the inner sanctuary. And he made side chambers all around. ...
In the Synoptics, Jesus takes bread, breaks it, and gives it to the disciples, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you". He then has them all drink from a cup, saying, "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood" (Luke 22:19–20).[70][216] The Christian sacrament or ordinance of the Eucharist is based on these events.[217] Although the Gospel of John does not include a description of the bread-and-wine ritual during the Last Supper, most scholars agree that John 6:22–59 (the Bread of Life Discourse) has a eucharistic character and resonates with the institution narratives in the Synoptic Gospels and in the Pauline writings on the Last Supper.[218]

Géza Vermes says that the doctrine of the virgin birth of Jesus arose from theological development rather than from historical events.[316] Despite the widely held view that the authors of the Synoptic Gospels drew upon each other (the so-called synoptic problem), other scholars take it as significant that the virgin birth is attested by two separate gospels, Matthew and Luke.[317][318][319][320][321][322] Christian Canvas Art
Now when the wall had been built and I had set up the doors, and the gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites had been appointed, I gave my brother Hanani and Hananiah the governor of the castle charge over Jerusalem, for he was a more faithful and God-fearing man than many. And I said to them, “Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot. And while they are still standing guard, let them shut and bar the doors. Appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, some at their guard posts and some in front of their own homes.” The city was wide and large, but the people within it were few, and no houses had been rebuilt. Then my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles and the officials and the people to be enrolled by genealogy. And I found the book of the genealogy of those who came up at the first, and I found written in it: ...
The Christ myth theory is the hypothesis that Jesus of Nazareth never existed; or if he did, that he had virtually nothing to do with the founding of Christianity and the accounts in the gospels.[s] Stories of Jesus' birth, along with other key events, have so many mythic elements that some scholars have suggested that Jesus himself was a myth.[381] Bruno Bauer (1809–1882) taught that the first Gospel was a work of literature that produced history rather than described it.[382] According to Albert Kalthoff (1850–1906) a social movement produced Jesus when it encountered Jewish messianic expectations.[382] Arthur Drews (1865–1935) saw Jesus as the concrete form of a myth that predated Christianity.[382] Despite arguments put forward by authors who have questioned the existence of a historical Jesus, there remains a strong consensus in historical-critical biblical scholarship that a historical Jesus did live in that area and in that time period.[383][384][385][386][387][388][389] Christian Canvas Art
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The Gospels say that Jesus was betrayed to the authorities by a disciple, and many scholars consider this report to be highly reliable.[140] He was executed on the orders of Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect of Judaea.[28] Pilate most likely saw Jesus' reference to the Kingdom of God as a threat to Roman authority and worked with the Temple elites to have Jesus executed.[347] The Sadducean high-priestly leaders of the Temple more plausibly had Jesus executed for political reasons than for his teaching.[140] They may have regarded him as a threat to stability, especially after he caused a disturbance at the Second Temple.[140][42] Other factors, such as Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, may have contributed to this decision.[348] Most scholars consider Jesus' crucifixion to be factual, because early Christians would not have invented the painful death of their leader.[7][349]

Other exceptional Christian paintings by modern artists include: The Angelus (1859) by the Barbizon realist Jean-Francois Millet; Christ Before Pilate (1881) by the Hungarian realist Mihaly Munkacsy; Christ's Triumphant Entry into Brussels in 1889 (1888), by James Ensor, leader of the Symbolism movement; The Christian Relic (1893) by the Spanish social realist painter Joaquin Sorolla; the unfinished Adam and Eve (1918) by the Viennese master Gustav Klimt; Ecce Homo (1925) by the German Expressionist Lovis Corinth; The Screaming Pope (1953) by Francis Bacon, inspired by Velazquez's Innocent X (1650); Mark Rothko's wall-paintings for the chapel at the St Thomas Catholic University in Houston; Crucifixion 3.85 (1985) by Antonio Saura, inspired by Velazquez's Crucifixion (1631). Scripture Art

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