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Fish in Christian Art
(557 words)

[German Version]

Fish (piscis, ἰχϑύς/ichthýs) appear frequently in pictorial representations from Christian antiquity, and even modern pictures of fish regularly evoke elements from that ancient symbolism (M. Chagall). Tertullian, De baptismo 1, explicitly refers to Christians as pisculi secundum ἰχϑύν nostrum Iesum Christum (“little fish in conformity with our ἰχϑύς Jesus Christ”). Beginning in this period, the fish is also attested as an acrostic in literature and epigraphy, with the initial letters of ‘Ιησοῦς Χρ(ε)ιστὸς Θεοῦ ῾Υιὸς Σωτήρ/Iēsoús Chr(e)istós Theoú Hyiós…

Cite this page
Volp, Ulrich, “Fish in Christian Art”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 01 December 2020 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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