Christian Themed frescos

Christian art has been hard to distinguish exactly when it started. It may have been due to the controversy surrounding what many believed was a violation of one of the Ten Commandments, Thou shalt not make any graven image, and thus making Christian themed art was seen to be doing just that. As such, many may have hidden their own Christian artwork and not made it publicly known, or the first public works of art may have been destroyed by people who were against it, wanting to not violate the Commandment. For whatever reason, Christian themed art did not seem to be publicly known until what was named the Early Christian art era beginning about 313 before Constantine and ending around the 7th century. From then it became more widely accepted and known. Christian art was first seen in catacombs in Rome and that is also where the first Christian frescoes were seen as well, but were very simple unlike the frescoes we are familiar with today from Michelangelo. Once the Romans and many other regions began to accept Christianity as legal, there was a great need for religious art (Encyclopedia of Art, 2016, p. 1).  Especially in Rome, there were magnificent churches and places of worship built.  Within these churches, there were basilicas, domes, alters, and baptisteries.  There are many fresco artists during this time, but one example is Michelangelo, who was responsible for panting entire walls in the Sistine Chapel. Thus, the art within these structures, especially frescoes, played a huge role in worship and reverence in Christian culture.  There is no doubt that the fresco had a major impact on modern Christian art.  In fact, it is common place now in many churches across the world to display the biblical stories as a reminder of adoration and worship.  Fresco is an artistic technique that is very durable and overall beautiful. The fresco technique is done by applying a rough lime-based plaster called arriccio, then followed by artist's sketches on the plaster (Davies, 441). After the preliminary sketches are complete, the artist then applies a finer plaster, intonaco, over the area that he or she will paint on for that day (441). Pigments are applied to the plaster when it is wet so that when the plaster dries the pigments dry with it. Fresco painting is done on a scaffold and completed from top to bottom. By doing so, artists avoided damaging or splattering completed sections of the composition. During the renaissance Christian themed art was very popular. Artists would be contracted to paint these works of art usually in religious buildings such as basilicas and chapels, and other religious type buildings. The most famous of all the religious buildings with Christian themed fresco's is the Sistine Chapel where Michelangelo and many other artist painted on the walls and ceilings. Some common characters that we find in these Christian themed frescoes include many of the saints, and disciples of Jesus. We also see many fresco's that include Jesus as the man character. Being as Jesus is the center of most religious beliefs, it only makes sense that he be part of many of the Christian themed fresco's. Some of the different themes that we see in Christian fresco's include, creation, the last supper, Jesus entering into Jerusalem on a donkey, the last judgment and many others scenes seen in the Bible.

Michelangelo, Studies for the Last Judgement, black chalk drawing, 1534/1534, From the collection of: British Museum
This is a black chalk drawing by Michelangelo that he did to study for his fresco painted in the Sistine Chapel. This specific fresco is on the alter wall of the Sistine Chapel, and took 4 years to complete. In this Picture Christ is surrounded by prominent saints including, Saints Catherine of Alexandria, Peter, Lawerence, Bartholomew, Paul, Sebastian, John the Baptist, and many others.
Joseph interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams, Peter von Cornelius, 1816, From the collection of: Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
This is a fresco painted by Peter Von Cornelius in the Palazzo Zuccari in Rome. Peter and 4 other german artists painted It along with the rest of the room in the years of 1816-1817.
Last Supper, Antonio Gomide, 1930, From the collection of: Casa Guilherme de Almeida
The last super is a very popular scene from the bible, painted by many artists in different centuries. This fresco by Antonio Gomide is very bleak. There is a lot of color but the background being a brownish color makes this a not very bright painting. The disciples all of a single halo around their heads, and Jesus being in the center has a double halo. This painting was painted in 1930 by Antonio in the Casa Guilherme de Almeida.
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