Churches and shrines were soon being built throughout the empire, many sponsored by Constantine himself. These buildings were usually five-aisled basilicas, such as Old St. Peter’s in Rome, or basilican-plan buildings centring upon a round or polygonal shrine, such as that in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Large-scale sculpture was not popular, but relief sculpture on sarcophagi, such as that of Junius Bassus (died 359), and ivory carvings and book covers continued to be produced. The walls of the churches were decorated with paintings or mosaics to instruct the faithful. The church of Sta. Maria Maggiore in Rome has an extensive mosaic program of Old and New Testament scenes that was begun in 432. Painting also illustrated liturgical books and other manuscripts. Youtube Christian Video
The beginnings of Early Christian art date to the period when the religion was yet a modest and sometimes persecuted sect, and its flowering was possible only after 313, when the Christian emperor Constantine the Great decreed official toleration of Christianity. Subsequent imperial sponsorship brought the religion popularity, riches, and many converts from all classes of society. Suddenly the church needed to produce art and architecture on a more ambitious scale in order to accommodate and educate its new members and to reflect its new dignity and social importance. Christian Video
Much of the art surviving from Europe after the fall of the Western Roman Empire is Christian art, although this in large part because the continuity of church ownership has preserved church art better than secular works. While the Western Roman Empire's political structure essentially collapsed after the fall of Rome, its religious hierarchy, what is today the modern-day Roman Catholic Church commissioned and funded production of religious art imagery. Christian Video Youtube
Artists were commissioned more secular genres like portraits, landscape paintings and because of the revival of Neoplatonism, subjects from classical mythology. In Catholic countries, production continued, and increased during the Counter-Reformation, but Catholic art was brought under much tighter control by the church hierarchy than had been the case before. From the 18th century the number of religious works produced by leading artists declined sharply, though important commissions were still placed, and some artists continued to produce large bodies of religious art on their own initiative. Christian Video
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Early Christian art survives from dates near the origins of Christianity. The oldest Christian sculptures are from sarcophagi, dating to the beginning of the 2nd century. The largest groups of Early Christian paintings come from the tombs in the Catacombs of Rome, and show the evolution of the depiction of Jesus, a process not complete until the 6th century, since when the conventional appearance of Jesus in art has remained remarkably consistent. Christian Movies
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