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The lives of Christ and the Virgin in Byzantine art
The lives of Christ and the Virgin in Byzantine art

The stories behind the art—a quick guide for understanding Byzantium's most common images.

Who’s who? How to recognize saints…
Who’s who? How to recognize saints…

Why does St. John the Baptist carry a lamb? Catherine a wheel? Mary Magdalene a jar?

The Christian Bible
The Christian Bible

The Christian Bible has had a long and complex genesis.

The problem with Christ
The problem with Christ

Neither words nor images fully capture the Christian God. Despite this inherent difficulty, painters still tried.

Unspeakable images: when words fail
Unspeakable images: when words fail

Empty, blank, or unfinished spaces leave paintings open to the viewer and create compelling ambiguities.

So near and yet so far: visions and thresholds
So near and yet so far: visions and thresholds

In paintings as in sacred spaces, curtains play with revelation and draw attention to the limits of human vision.

This world and the next: Christ on earth; Christ in heaven
This world and the next: Christ on earth; Christ in heaven

Temporal and spatial ambiguity imbue two images of the Virgin and Child—and this portrait of Christ’s suffering.

Time and eternity: Yesterday, today, and always
Time and eternity: Yesterday, today, and always

Like place, time is an important theological category and, like the divine, it can be hard to comprehend.

Putting God in his place: here, everywhere, and nowhere
Putting God in his place: here, everywhere, and nowhere

Renaissance painters like Lippi devised spatial metaphors in order to convey the mystery of Christ’s conception.

Christ is not like a snail: Signs and symbols
Christ is not like a snail: Signs and symbols

Where does a painting end and our reality begin? Crivelli’s humble snail prompts more questions than answers.

Architecture and liturgy
Architecture and liturgy

Liturgy provided the script, architecture the set—and the altar sat center stage.

The life of Christ in medieval and Renaissance art
The life of Christ in medieval and Renaissance art

From the Annunciation to the Last Judgment, this handy guide explains key moments in Christian art.