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It was in this setting that Christianity arrived in Egypt and it was here that the rich flavor of Coptic (Egyptian Christian) art evolved.
In Coptic, as well as other Christian art or for that matter, the scenes depicting battles and other notable events on pagan temple walls, were not in themselves art for arts sake.
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Within the center of the copula ceiling of the chapel birds weave amongst networks of vine branches, a motif originating in the east but adopted by the Roman world and used extensively in Christian monuments, such as the mausoleum of St.
Constantia in Rome (also dating to the fourth century).
Here, the famous Chapel of the Exodus, dating to the fourth century AD, is so called because of its graphic representations of the Hebrew Exodus to the Promised Land under Moses.
Some of the earliest Christian paintings in Egypt we have records of were probably those in the catacombs of Karmuz in Alexandria.
Created towards the end of the third century, they no longer exist, but we know something about their theme.
In these early periods, most people were illiterate, and thus many scenes from ancient Egyptian Christian churches might be better understood almost as graphic bibles, depicting famous topics in a manner suited to the common faithful of early Christianity.
In general, it might be said that Coptic Christian art evolved from unsophisticated, crude styles to a refined, highly developed one over time, and spreading from Alexandria southward.Though a Christian monument, Old Testament scenes are predominate.