The oldest surviving Christian paintings are from the site at Megiddo, dated to around the year 70. The largest groups of Early Christian paintings come from the tombs in the Catacombs of Rome, and show the evolution of the depiction of Jesus, a process not complete until the 6th century, since when the conventional appearance of Jesus in art has remained remarkably consistent. As a stable Western European society emerged during the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church led the way in terms of art, using its resources to commission paintings and sculptures. In the Byzantine Empire frsco-painting and icon painting reached its zenith. In the West, the Renaissance saw an increase in monumental secular works, but until the Protestant Reformation Christian art continued to be produced in great quantities, both for churches and clergy and for the laiety. Many Western painters have since created painting masterpieces which today decorate museums worldwide.
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