Syndretizm and Abstraction in Early Christian and Roman Art

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Within the 500 years of history from the introduction of Christian art around 200 CE until the ban on religious images in eighth century Byzantium,a continuity between the classical religious tradition and Christianity is evident. Syncretism, or the assimilation of images from other traditions, defined the Late Antique period's aesthetic transition into the first three centuries of Byzantine art creating a bridge between Antiquity and the Middle Ages. In late Rome, amidst a growing trend toward …

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…empire as a universal power, until the Early Byzantine period, artistic trends were dominated by a blending of traditional images, or syncretism,and symbolism conveyed emotionally by the increased use of abstraction. During this turbulent period, a firm foundation developed for medieval art both in the East and in the West.Throughout the Middle ages this same basic formula with its focus on symbolism was used many times in religious contexts to express similar ideas.