Early Christian Art

Early Christian Art

This course critically reviews early Christian and Byzantine art from the 2nd to 6th Century.

Course code: ENART001

Professor: Dr. David H. Pereyra


This course critically reviews early Christian and Byzantine art from the 2nd to 6th Century. Its fundamental idea is that early Christian art emerged and evolved as manifestations of the faith’s conversation with its changing cultural contexts. Students will learn to critically engage the role theology, ecclesiology, socioeconomics, and politics have in Christian art, with a special emphasis on church/worship architecture as innovative art.


This course explores the following

  • the fundamental stages in the development of Early Christian art and architecture
  • the theological, ecclesiastical, spiritual, and pastoral context of the analyzed material
  • the relationship between art and theology
  • the contextual character of early Christian art and architecture.
  • develop academic skills in careful reading, and critical analysis. 

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, the student should be able to:

  • critically engage in the meaning and message of early Christianity as revealed in the texts and images of the early Christians.
  • demonstrate an understanding of how Christian Art, thought and/or practice has developed in a specific historical period.
  • articulate and evaluate the interplay between religion and social, cultural, art and/or political phenomena.
  • conduct an analysis of how visual art often serves as a highly sophisticated, literate, and even eloquent mode of theological expression.
  • develop and employ an interdisciplinary model of theological interpretation of the arts

Course Index

  1. Introduction. The Context of Early Christian Art
  2. The Character of Early Christian Iconography – Biblical and Non-Biblical Themes in Early Christian Art
  3. The Rise of the Roman Church – Imperial Christianity. Pictorial Art of the 3rd and 4th Centuries
  4. The End of Ancient Rome and the Beginning of the Byzantine World
  5. Justinian and Early Byzantine Art