Oldest Known Images of Apostles Found

Laser reveals 4th-century painting in Rome catacomb
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 23, 2010 2:32 AM CDT
Catacomb archeological superintendent Fabrizio Bisconti points out a painting discovered with the icons of the apostles Andrew and John.   (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)
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(Newser) – The earliest known images of the apostles Andrew and John have been found in a catacomb beneath Rome. Archaeologists found the 4th-century images after using lasers to burn away centuries of calcium deposits on frescoes in a Roman noblewoman's tomb, the Guardian reports. Paintings of Peter and Paul were also found, although older images of those apostles have been unearthed elsewhere.

"John's young face is familiar, but this is the most youthful portrayal of Andrew ever seen, very different from the old man with gray hair and wrinkles we know from medieval painting," the project leader says. The tomb, discovered in the 1950s, lies beneath an 8-story office building in a working-class Rome neighborhood.

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