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The Cross


              The meaning of the cross used in  Byzantine, Gothic and Renaissance Painting.

Byzantine, Gothic and Early Renaissance paintings are rich in philosophical and Christian symbolism regarding The Cross

The Cross is a very ancient symbol  The history of this powerful icon is ambiguous.  The cross was used centuries before appearance of Christ . The cross can be found in Egyptian and Assyrian sculptures, carvings and paintings.  There are many different  explanations and legends about the original meaning of this sacred symbol. If you spend a good deal of time rooting around  the Holy lands you are sure to have many different  interpretations. Often  academic and scholarly sources contradict each other. According to Anna Jameson, author of Sacred and Legendary Art, "About the tenth century the Fish disappeared, and the Cross symbol of our redemption from the apostolic times became the sole and universal emblem of the Christian faith. The cross placed in the hand of a saint is usually the Latin cross, the form ascribed to the cross on which our Saviour suffered."

 The  cross first appeared  in Christian art  on a Vatican sarcophagus ( A wood, clay or metal  coffin)  from the 450 AD.  To early Christian it is clear that the cross symbolized the manner of  death of Jesus Christ and His sufferings subsequent death,  and as a symbol of His sacrifice.  It is the most important Christian Holy Symbol.

The Latin Inverted Cross - represents the Martyrdom of St. Peter, also known as the St. Peter cross. St Peter was crucified on an upside down cross because he didn't feel himself worthy to be crucified on the same kind of cross as the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

 symbols in art


Key Descriptive Words  and Phrases associated with the Renaissance Movement rebirth, rediscovery of the classical world, City-state, Humanism, Humanist, Francesco Petrarch, Reform, The Prince, Theocracy, The Inquisition, Human Reasoning,  publication of Della Pittura, a book about the laws of mathematical perspective for artists, sfumato, chiaroscuro, linear perspectiveHeliocentric Theory, vanishing point, Savonarola, spiritually significant,  illuminated manuscriptidealized biblical themes, scriptorium, emotion, illuminator,  Age of Discovery, axonometric drawing, curiosity about the natural world, mythology,  realistic use of colours and lightBonfire of the Vanities, Old Testament stories, ethereal and foggy backgrounds, Gospel parables, The Blackdeath, romanticized landscapes,  Christian symbolism.



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