본문 바로가기
  • Home

An Iconographic Study of ‘Manus Dei’ in the Early Christian Art

  • The Journal of Aesthetics and Science of Art
  • Abbr : JASA
  • 2010, 32(), pp.403-430
  • Publisher : 한국미학예술학회
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Other Arts and Kinesiology
  • Published : December 30, 2010

조수정 1

1숙명여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Depicted as a hand reaching down from above, ‘Manus Dei’ was the most typical symbol of the God Father, not only in the beginning of the Christian epoch but also through the Middle Age. It is simply said that the ‘Manus Dei’ is one of the most popular and ancient symbols of God. But very few study explained the reason or showed concrete examples about this affirmation. Although the iconographic importance of ‘Manus Dei’ has been already generalized, it is difficult to find a detailed study on the ‘Manus Dei’. In this study, we trace the origin of ‘Manus Dei’ in the early christian art and focus on its iconological meanings. For this, we analyse some examples of ‘Manus Dei’, painted on the wall of Coemeterium Maius, sculptured on a sarcophagus of Arles and on the front door of the basilica of Saint Sabina. Also, an comparative analyses of the jewish art - especially the frescoes of the synagogue of Doura Europos - and the early christian art is carried out. Finally, we discuss the iconographical influence of roman art on ‘Manus Dei’, dealing with byzantine coins. Often described as Mysterium Tremendum, God is fully different from man, beyond human perception. ‘Manus Dei’ represents this transcendence of God. This ancient symbol indicates also His concern for man. ‘Manus Dei’ depicted in the scene of ‘Sacrifice of Abraham’, of ‘Exodus’, and of ‘Three young Hebrew in the furnace’ show His search for man. We can as well point out the eschatological signification of ‘Manus Dei’ ; the examples from catacombs and sarcophagus reflect the economy of salvation. As we see through the examples of byzantine coins, the symbolism indicates that the temporal ruler of the Empire is receiving divine sanction for his authority.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.