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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.)


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The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

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