Popular Symbols in Christian Art and Their Meanings
The Christian art tradition is replete with symbolism. Artists, iconographers, and other masters have been using various symbols of animals, plants, and objects to convey the stories of Scripture through imagery. Below we have covered some of the most popular symbols in Christian art and their meanings. They all reveal important aspects of the church tradition, so it is worth getting to know them in more detail.
The most popular symbols in Christian art
1. The lamb
The symbolism of the lamb is drawn from various references in Scripture. In Christian sacral art, the lamb represents Christ Himself. Sometimes, it is depicted with a halo above its head.
In some iconographic plots like “The Good Shepherd,” the lamb can also be a symbol of a sinful human who is guarded by God.
2. The olive
Popular symbols in Christian art also include such an element as the olive tree. It symbolizes fertility, peace, hope, and new beginnings. The olive tree is frequently mentioned in the Old Testament, as it was sacred to the Jews. The olive branch as a symbol of peace goes back to the story of Noah and the Flood. Noah sent a dove to see if there was land nearby. The dove returned with an olive branch in its beak, which became a symbol of peace between the Lord and man.
3. The star
The star is often depicted in religious icons and frescoes. It is a symbol of guide and divine mercy. It was the Star of Bethlehem that guided the Magi to the birthplace of Jesus and shone in the sky above the manger.
Besides, stars are often part of the iconographic image of the Virgin Mary.
4. The dove
Since ancient times, the dove in Christian art has been a symbol of peace, grace, and divine origin. This bird represents the traditional concept of the Holy Spirit and is repeatedly featured in the icons of Jesus Christ.
5. The palm
The palm branch is one of the most popular symbols of plants in Christian art. It symbolizes the martyr’s victory over death. It is Christ who is often portrayed with the palm branch because He conquered sin and death. When Jesus entered Jerusalem, people greeted Him with palm branches in their hands, shouting praising words.
These were some of the most popular symbols in Christian art. Do not miss our new blog posts about sacral art and its meaning!