Religion Past and Present

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(194 words)

[German Version]

Orants, standing figures with arms raised and onstretched, appear in catacomb paintings and on sculpted sarcophagi in Late Antiquity; they also appear in various genres of the minor arts, depending on the primary iconographic theme. Pagan art had already used such figures to represent prayer; early Christian art employed them to symbolize powerful or salvific prayer, as in representations of Daniel in the lion’s den, Noah in the ark, and the young men in the fiery furnace. In catacomb paintings, the orant gesture appears also to represent the hope of the de…

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Arnulf, Arwed, “Orants”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 13 August 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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