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Konstantinos Gravanis

Konstantinos Gravanis

The Heavenly Bodies in Early Christian Art


Images of sun and moon as a pair were very common in the Crucifixion iconography until early Renaissance. They are often related to the gospels' implication of a sun-eclipse during Jesus' martyrdom. But their symmetrical separation and human attributes reveal a connection with older traditions of the heavenly bodies as personified deities.

Early Christian theologians interpreted the luminaries as symbolizing the coincidence of the divine and human in Christ - "for the Sun is a type of God, and the moon of man" (Theophilus). The sun was typically depicted on the right side of Jesus, the moon on his left. The Christian notion of Right and Left probably derived from Pythagorean-Platonic speculations associating Right with light, masculine, celestial and intelligible, Left with darkness, feminine, sublunary and sensible. The association of Christ with Sun, though, was mostly symbolic and iconographic references to sun-worship mainly served syncretic and adaptative purposes within contemporary context. Plato's established conception of the heavenly bodies as ensouled divinities that should be worshipped was rejected. The created gods were degraded from independent agents to inferior astral demons and Christ was typically depicted as the unmovable divine principle who ruled over celestial order and cosmic fatalism.


My research interests focus mainly on astrological representations in ancient myth, religious texts and Renaissance iconography. I hold an MSc in Social Research Methods and I am currently doing an MA in History of Art (University of Kent). Recent publications:

- The Four Astrological Facets of Jesus. The Astrological Journal, Nov-Dec 2015, pp. 22-26

- Astrological Concepts in Disney's Artwork. The Astrological Journal, Nov-Dec 2013, pp. 33-36 (received 1st award in the AA Young Astrologers Essay Contest 2013)

- Astrology and Esoteric Philosophy in Homer (2011). Athens: Pyrinos Kosmos



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