Long recognized as an expert on Late Antiquity, André Grabar here shows how the first Christian images came into being and what role they played alongside other forms of Christian piety in their day. Through 346 illustrations he cites the most characteristic examples of early Christian art, dwelling on their nature, form, and content.
Commenting on the three-part text in a review for Apollo, John Beckwith writes: "The first [part], reviewing the first steps in Christian iconography and the assimilation of contemporary imagery, of necessity covers ground with which Christian archaeologists are familiar, but Professor Grabar considers his material with a wisdom and good sense all his own. The second part, dealing with the portrait and the historical scene, deploys the author's formidable erudition and acuity on a theme establishing the importance of imperial iconography in the development of Christian imagery. . . . The third part, which discusses dogmas expressed in a single image and dogmas represented by juxtaposed images, is an equally important contribution to the proper understanding of early Christian art."
André Grabar is Professor of Art Emeritus at the College de France.