Dictionary of Christian Art

By Diane Apostolos-Cappadona

A comprehensive reference of over 1000 entries, from Aaron to Zucchetto, explaining the major symbols and subjects from 2000 years of Christian art.

ISBN: 9780718829322


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.

Additional information

Dimensions 234 × 156 mm
Pages 376
Illustrations b&w

Trade Information LGENREF

About the Author

Dr. Diana Apostolos-Cappadona is a leading expert on Christian and religious art. She teaches at the Georgetown University Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, in Washington DC.



A to Z

List of Illustrations and Captions

Endorsements and Reviews

… the author – whose erudition as a historian of religions shines through her every word … does provide a convenient reference book for the non-specialist in the difficult maze that is historical iconography.
Sylvia Auld, University of Edinburgh

This imaginative work is more than a dictionary: it is a true introduction to European art of the past, including – despite the title – entries on classical mythology. It should prove of great service to all those who lecture, write, or simply want to know more about the relationship between belief, liturgy and art.
Erika Langmuir, The National Gallery, London