Paleochristian terracotta brick with horses and palm trees, 6th-7th century A.D.

The fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century resulted in the ruin of the ancient world. However, Christianity was the driving force behind the continuity and evolution of the West in the Middle Ages. Paleochristian art served as a bridge between classical and Christian culture to create a new art. It is an art that lives in its beginnings hidden, in many occasions persecuted. The followers of the new religion stimulated the appearance and extension of another iconography. Although to represent the beliefs and stories of their faith they often resorted to pre-existing visual prototypes, there is no doubt that the spirit that animated the visual creations of Christianity was beginning to be very different from the old polytheism. This brick, made in a mold, depicts a scene with two horses flanking a palm tree. The palm became a Christian symbol as it is a natural cross that represents the symbol of victory. It was also understood as a symbol of resurrection because it never lost its greenery. Paleochristian art is eminently symbolic, in fact, its aesthetic did not seek luxury or ornamentation and was on the contrary concise.


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