Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Early Apostle Portraits Found in Catacombs

Archaeologists and art restorers are analyzing recently discovered paintings believed to be the earliest ever found depicting apostles of Jesus. The images ~ likely painted at the end of the 4th century ~ are in a branch of the catacombs of St. Tecla near St Paul's Basilica, just outside the walls of ancient Rome.

“These are the first images that we know of the faces of these four apostles,” Fabrizio Bisconti, head of archaeology for Rome's numerous catacombs, told Reuters.

The full-face icons include visages of St. Peter, St. Andrew, and St. John, who were among Jesus' original 12 apostles, and St. Paul, who became an apostle after Christ's death.

The paintings have the same characteristics as later images, such as St Paul's rugged, wrinkled and elongated forehead and balding head and pointy beard, indicating they may have been the ones which set the standard.

Click here for the Reuters article.

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