Monday, July 11, 2016

How the Father and the Son Were Depicted in Early Christian Art

DESERET NEWS
By William Hamblin and Daniel Peterson
Although Christ was widely represented in early Christian art as both human teacher and resurrected God, God the Father first appeared only as a human hand reaching through the veil of the heavens to teach or bless, such as in the apse mosaic in San Clemente in Rome.
One could argue that the most significant cultural passage in the Bible is Exodus 20:4-5: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.” These verses thus created a conundrum for subsequent Jewish, Christian and Muslim artists. Should art be completely forbidden under any circumstances? Can one create geometrical, non-representational religious art as long as it does not represent divine things? Is there a distinction between “venerating” a religious image (showing respect and honor), and “worshipping” an image? [link]
In the long run, it became standard Christian iconography for the Father to be represented in anthropomorphic form as an old man, often side by side with the younger Son, with the non-incarnate Holy Spirit as a dove, such as in the "Trinty," an El Greco painting in the Prado Museum in Madrid.