As the Roman Empire declined in the West, there was an opportunity for long-supp

As the Roman Empire declined in the West, there was an opportunity for long-supp

As the Roman Empire declined in the West, there was an opportunity for long-suppressed communities and religions to flourish in the new political and cultural climate of the Mediterranean and European regions. Specifically, Christianity enjoyed new tolerance and popularity throughout the Italian peninsula and beyond, especially after it was legalized in the 4th Century CE. One of the unique features of early Christian art in the later Roman Empire is the degree to which traditional Roman styles and subject matter were appropriated for a Christian context. Additionally, the Islamic religion rose in prominence as early as the 8th Century CE, and grew rapidly across the Mediterranean, Eastern Asia, and Central Asian regions. Islamic rulers in these regions adopted many cultural, political, and artistic features originally popularized in the Roman Empire as well, reinventing and repurposing formerly Roman elements for a new Islamic context.
Rather than working on a particular skill from art historical analysis this week, we will be focusing on more general critical thinking skills of describing and analyzing the influence of one thing upon another by looking at the ways in which certain elements are appropriated in contexts outside of their original creation and use. The term “appropriation” refers to the intentional use of something that is not original but is rather borrowed and reused. For example, many musicians may appropriate melodies or lyrics from other artists or composers, but they reuse the original material in ways that are not strictly mirror copies. In art history, many visual artists have borrowed and repurposed stylistic, thematic, or other technical aspects from contemporaneous or earlier artforms all the time, but the difference between simply copying something and appropriating something involves using the material in a way that is different from its original appearance, use, and/or meaning.
Your Assignment:
Select one (1) artwork or monument from this week’s textbook reading assignments and/or lectures and describe how this example demonstrates the appropriation and use of ancient Roman artistic features in either a Christian or Islamic context in Late Antiquity and/or the early Medieval Era.
Provide a visual analysis of this artwork or monument, making sure to mention the style, design, materials, techniques, subject matter, content, purposes, uses, and meanings of the work in specific description so your reader can clearly picture this work in their mind.
Explain how this work displays the appropriation of Roman features, styles, or techniques for a new Christian or Islamic context.
Perhaps the work borrows the same kind of naturalism in style from Roman freestanding or relief sculpture, or the same kinds of techniques in fresco or mosaic, or the same kinds of design in architectural structures and public spaces, for example, but the work from Late Antiquity repurposes those traditional Roman features to be used in the worship of Christian or Islamic beliefs, or the practice of Christian or Islamic religious activities, or in the depictions of Christian or Islamic figures, etc..
Explain to your reader how the Roman aspects of this work were used and understood by a new Christian or Islamic audience in as much detail as possible.

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