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The time had come to display the insignia of Christ's victory with the same material splendour which the State attached to the imperial majesty of Caesar.
The Good Shepherd of the Catacombs and the pastoral scenes gradually disappeared; the last traces of them are found in the rotunda of St. Pudenziana at Rome (before 410), the Cross, which stands in mid-heaven above a Senate of Apostles wearing the laticlave, is already a symbol of triumph.
Profane painting in Europe dates only from the last five centuries and it took the lead only in the nineteenth century.
For to painters as to poets a license has ever been conceded to dare whatever they pleased." The monuments of religious painting for the first four centuries are to be sought only at Rome (see ROMAN CATACOMBS; ECCLESIASTICAL ART)."We are, by the grace of God, those who manifest to the faithful the miracles wrought by faith"—thus the painters of Siena express themselves in the statutes of their guild (1355).The same ideas are contained in the "Treatise on Painting" of Cennino Cennini, and in France in the "Livre des Métiers" of the Parisian Etienne Boileau (1254).Art being regarded as didactic, necessarily partook of the severe nature of dogma. To alter anything in the garments of the saints or of the Blessed Virgin, to depict the former shod or the latter barefooted, to confuse the piety of the simple by innovations and individual whims, were all serious matters.The Christian artist was surrounded by a strict network of prohibitions and prescriptions.