Christ As The Good Shepherd Essay

1138 words - 5 pages

Whether or not we notice it, Art is always around. It can come in the form of a beautiful painting in the Smithsonian Museum, a sculpture by Michelangelo, or as graffiti on the wall. Whatever the form, art is always present. Additionally, art is not new; for as long as there have been people, there has been art. Though rare, early Christian art manages to express, in picture form, a story from the bible. One piece, which was actual a mural painted in the fourth century, on walls of the mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Raveena, Italy, depicts Christ teaching his apostles. Just a few miles away in a Vatican City museum is a statue from the third century which also depicts Christ as the Good Shepherd.
The artists who crafted these works of art shared a common theme, which was Christ, but they tell a different part of the story; the mosaic shows how the sheep view Christ, while the statue tells how Christ searches for the lost sheep.

According to the text in the book “Culture and Values: A Survey of Humanities” the statue, which was quite rare before the fourth century, is a classic Greaco-Roman depiction of Christ as the Good Shepherd (142). This statue, unlike the mosaic by the same name, only shows a single sheep, the lost sheep which Christ seeks out. In the parable from Luke 15 vs 3-7, Christ reveals that a good Shepherd will, if losing one sheep, he drops everything to find that one sheep. The Statue is a literal depiction of the good shepherd searching for his lost sheep. The mosaic, on the other hand, does not show Christ searching for his flock, but rather it shows his flock calm and secure in his presences. They are at rest and at peace, and all are gazing at their master. The statue, much like the mosaic, also shows the sheep calmly looking towards Christ.

As mentioned previously, the 5th century mosaic shows the good shepherd (Christ) surrounded by his sheep. Each of the six sheep, calmly look towards their shepherd. They are not in fear of him, and they trust him implicitly; as is evident with the one sheep allowing the shepherd to pet him. Sacred-destinations.com further illuminates on this theme, stating “instead of [the shepherd] being shown as a typical countryman, the Good Shepherd has a large golden halo, wears a royal purple mangle over his golden tunic. The color purple has always been referred to as a royal color. In biblical traditions, the purple color, especially in Jeremiah 10:9, is a reminder of the importance of obeying the commandments. This is significant in the fact that the sheep are supposed to obey the shepherd. Remy Melina writes that the “purple's elite status stems from the rarity and cost of the dye originally used to produce it.” This would mean that only the wealthiest citizens of the country could afford it, and for the most part, this use to only include the royals. The colors gold, in the mosaic, is simple. Gold was, and still is, a precious metal. Therefore, the color gold...

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