Coptic Paintings

With the creation of Alexandria in 332 BC, Hellenization came to Egypt, together with first the art of the Greeks, and then that of the Romans, which began to overlay that of the more ancient Egyptian styles. 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, the scenes depicting battles and other notable events on pagan temple walls were not in themselves art for arts sake. In these early periods most people were illiterate and 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 style to a refined, highly developed, and spreading from Alexandria southward. The art also varies by region due to the lack of more authoritarian influences in southern Egypt, where early styles were often highly variable.

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