Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Christian Art

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"Christian art" is a term which, while it always applies to the fine arts and their creations only, is nevertheless used in more than one meaning which we must distinguish in this encyclopedia. Most frequently we designate by Christian art, the fine arts in as much as we find them in the service of the Church, i.e. in so far as they serve either to construct or to embellish houses of worship, the homes of the consecrated servants of God, monasteries, convents, the last resting-places of the faithful, etc., or in as much as they beautify the rites and ceremonies of the Church. In this sense, Christian art is also called ecclesiastical art, and we find it convenient to treat this subject under the title ECCLESIASTICAL ART. But Christian art is sometimes also used to denote the fine arts and their creations, in as much as they are in harmony with Christian ideals and principles. In this regard Christian art will be treated under the several special headings into which its divisions naturally fall. (See PAINTING; MUSIC; SCULPTURE etc.)