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The invention of color lithography led to broad circulation of holy cards.

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Much of the art surviving from Europe after the fall of the Western Roman Empire is Christian art, although this in large part because the continuity of church ownership has preserved church art better than secular works.

While the Western Roman Empire's political structure essentially collapsed after the fall of Rome, its religious hierarchy, what is today the modern-day Roman Catholic Church commissioned and funded production of religious art imagery.

However, there is also a considerable history of aniconism in Christianity from various periods.

Early Christian art survives from dates near the origins of Christianity.

Most Christian groups use or have used art to some extent, although some have had strong objections to some forms of religious image, and there have been major periods of iconoclasm within Christianity.

Images of Jesus and narrative scenes from the Life of Christ are the most common subjects, and scenes from the Old Testament play a part in the art of most denominations.

The Orthodox Church of Constantinople, which enjoyed greater stability within the surviving Eastern Empire was key in commissioning imagery there and glorifying Christianity.

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.

The fall of Constantinople in 1453 brought an end to the highest quality Byzantine art, produced in the Imperial workshops there.

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