The Routledge Handbook of Early Christian Art surveys a broad spectrum of Christian art produced from the late second to the sixth centuries. The first part of the book opens with a general survey of the subject and then presents fifteen essays that discuss specific media of visual art-catacomb paintings, sculpture, mosaics, gold glass, gems, reliquaries, ceramics, icons, ivories, textiles, silver, and illuminated manuscripts. Each is written by a noted expert in the field. The second part of the book takes up themes relevant to the study of early Christian art. These seven chapters consider the ritual practices in decorated spaces, the emergence of images of Christ's Passion and miracles, the functions of Christian secular portraits, the exemplary mosaics of Ravenna, the early modern history of Christian art and archaeology studies, and further reflection on this field called "early Christian art." Each of the volume's chapters includes photographs of many of the objects discussed, plus bibliographic notes and recommendations for further reading.
The result is an invaluable introduction to and appraisal of the art that developed out of the spread of Christianity through the late antique world. Undergraduate and graduate students of late classical, early Christian, and Byzantine culture, religion, or art will find it an accessible and insightful orientation to the field. Additionally, professional academics, archivists, and curators working in these areas will also find it valuable as a resource for their own research, as well as a textbook or reference work for their students.
Robin M. Jensen is the Patrick O'Brien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, USA, and a member of the faculty of Medieval Institute and the Department of Art, Art History, and Design. Her published work explores the intersection of early Christian iconography, ecclesial architecture, ritual practices, and theological discourse.
Mark D. Ellison is an associate professor in the Department of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University, USA. He received a Ph.D. and M.A. from Vanderbilt University, USA, in Early Christianity and Early Christian Art, and an M.A. from the University of South Florida, USA, in Religious Studies (Biblical Archaeology).
"Combining coverage of the major media of early Christian art and a selection of key themes and issues, this volume of contributions by a galaxy of experts is a treasure-trove for the study of its specific subject and also for wider historical work on early Christianity. Those new to the visual culture of early Christianity will find this a competent guide, and students and scholars of early Christian art also will find here a resource to consult on many matters." -Larry Hurtado, University of Edinburgh, UK