The Good Shepherd (c.250)

This fresco of the Good Shepherd was found on the ceiling of the Vault of Lucina in the Catacomb of Callixtus in Rome.

The construction of the vault itself has been dated to the second half of the 2nd century, but the use of the red and green lines to divide the space (similar to the chambers under San Sebastiano) has suggested the first half or middle of the 3rd century for this fresco.

The image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd was an especially popular motif in the early Christian centuries.

It was based in several biblical passages, including the 23rd Psalm and sayings of Jesus, and is also an adaptation of a popular pagan image.


Source

  1. W.F. Volbach, Early Christian Art (London: Thames and Hudson, 1961), 310.

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The Good Shepherd, Catacomb of Callixtus
earliest depiction of Jesus, oldest picture of Christ, Dura Europos