Christian art is rich, complex and heavily invested with symbolism. The painting reproduced on the cover of this book is a case in point. Who are the central figures? (A glance at the entry under ‘Baptism’ will enlighten those who are unsure). And, perhaps more challenging, how can we identify the fourteen saints around them? Do the flowers at Jesus’ feet have a special significance?
The Dictionary of Christian Art provides the answers, giving the modern reader access to the pictorial tradition that was once the common visual vocabulary of western Europeans.
There are over 1,000 entries, from Aaron to Zucchetto, covering the following areas:
- Artists, art and architectural terms
- The symbolism of numbers, flora and fauna, and parts of the body
- Christian saints
- Biblical and mythological figures
- Liturgical objects and vestments
In addition, there are more than 160 reproductions by the greatest artists from the two millennia of Christian art, ranging from sixth-century mosaics and icons, through the great Italian fresco painters of the Middle Ages and the contribution of the Renaissance, to Georges Rouault and Salvador Dali in more modern times.