Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church (The Complete Eight Volumes in One). Amazon Kindle Edition, 2014.
Volume 2, Ante-Nicene Christianity A.D. 100-325, “Chapter 6. Christian Art” (Includes sections 75-81).
Schaff provides a lightly annotated bibliography of sources for early Christian artwork (Schaff 2014, Loc. 15610).
§ 76. Origin of Christian Art.
Schaff makes it clear tha Christianity does not originate in artistic expression. However, much art is strongly influenced by Christianity, which gives meaning and structure to the raw idea of beauty (Schaff 2014, Loc. 15626). Poetry and music were essential to Jewish worship. They passed natually into Christian practice as well. Sculpture and painting were slower to be adopted in Christian settings. Schaff ties this to the Mosaic prohibition against making representative art as objects of worship, as well as the strong Christian rejection of the pagan religions, which used painting and sculpture extensively (Schaff 2014, Loc. 15637). However, symbolic art does appear by the later part of the second century (Schaff 2014, Loc. 15643). From the fourth to eighth centuries we have evidence of disputes over the use of images in worship. Schaff calls these “violent image controversies which were not settled until the second Council of Nicaea (787), in favor of a limited image worship” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 15654). Schaff does seem to equate the presence of images in worship with the use of them for worship.