Although the Christian church did not continue many of the ritual laws of the Jewish people, it did hold to the Ten Commandments. The first commandment prohibits the making of images of anything in heaven or on earth that could serve as an idol. This prohibition made the early Christians hesitant to create any images at all. The earliest works of Christian art began appearing in the third century in the form of mural paintings in burial chambers such as the Roman catacombs. The subjects of these paintings included Christ's early miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes and scenes based on other biblical stories.
The Church of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey. The church was built between 532 and 537 by the emperor Justinian. The first church on this site was built by the emperor Constantine, the first Christian emperor of Rome, when he moved the capital of the Empire from Rome to Byzantium in 330.
A Russian icon of Mary, the Mother of God, holding Jesus, the Son of God. The golden halo, a circular ring of light around their heads, is used in Christian religious art to denote the light of grace bestowed by God.
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