Religious Art or sacred art are terms generally used to describe religious or spiritual imagery. Christian art often illustrates scenes from the Old Testament with portraits of Jesus and the Virgin Mary with the infant Jesus.
Early Christian art can be traced back to Italy and the Byzantine empire of the 6th Century. However, the 2nd century ceiling and wall paintings found in the catacombs, which were Roman underground burial chambers, evidence some of the earliest known Christian iconography.
Religious Art was used to decorate churches and cathedrals; the most famous of which are the works of Michelangelo The Creation of Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican and the mural by Leonardo Da Vinci of The Last Supper in St Peter's Basilica
During the 19th and 20th centuries, artists Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh and Realism artist Bouguereau and used Christian themes in their religious oil paintings.
Paul Gauguin expresses his interest in religion in his painting The Yellow Christ 1889.
Two Post-Expressionist religious paintings by Vincent van Gogh, both after Delacroix, are The Good Samaritan after Delacroix 1890 Pieta After Delacroix 1889 and
The Madonna of The Roses 1903 by William-Adolphe Bouguereau is just one of his beautiful religious oil paintings of the Virgin Mary.
Baroque religious paintings by Caravaggio, Rubens and Rembrandt are some of the most famous religious paintings of all time.
Caravaggio's The Entombment of Christ was painted around 1603 and can been seen at Pinocoteca Art Gallery in The Vatican. It was originally an altarpiece painted for the Chapel of the Santa Maria Church in Vallicella, Rome.
The Martyrdom of St Stephen was painted by Sir Peter Paul Rubens in c1616 and is the central panel of a triptych originally created for the Saint-Amand Abbey but which is now held by the Musee des Beaux-Arts, also in Valenciennes.
Rembrandt's Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee 1663 is one of our most popular religious paintings, whilst The Return of the Prodigal Son is probably the most famous of Christian oil paintings by Rembrandt.
Raphael's Madonna and Child, The Tempi Madonna was painted in 1508 and is an example of high renaissance religious art.
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