Christian art today consists of many masterpieces: cathedrals, sculpture, and painting; these furnish evidence to prove that art is a factor by which spiritual messages of revelation are conveyed and by which a means of comprehending the divine is provided. Until late in the third century, however, there was no Christian art as such; in fact, Christianity was frequently said to be a primitive religion because it lacked a cultural means of expression.
In this book, Eduard Syndicus outlines the history of Christian art from its beginning through the first six centuries of its development. It actually began with drawings on tombstones and in burial vaults. A study of such drawings clearly shows the gradual change in attitude brought about by Christianity: the first drawings portrayed everyday scenes in life but, as Christian teachings spread, the art began to depict man’s thoughts of death and resurrection.
The author presents a detailed discussion of the basilica, the martyrium, the early images of Christ, and the logos on the cross. He compares the various forms of early Christian architecture, and outlines the changing art of the period of migrations. A discussion of Carolingian art rounds out this definitive work. One hundred line drawings and nearly fifty halftones illuminate the author’s presentation.
Eduard Syndicus was born on January 9, 1915, in Hergarten-Eifel, Germany. In 1934 he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus. He devoted himself to the study of philosophy and theology until 1948, when he was called for wartime duty, serving as a wireless operator and medical orderly in the Arctic Circle. From 1950-53, he did parish work and studied aesthetics and art history at Munich University, completing his work there in 1954. He is now a lecturer in Christian Art at the Philosophical and Theological College of the Society of Jesus in Frankfurt. J. R. Foster translated Early Christian Art from the German.