Rather than referring to a style, the term "Early Christian" refers to the art done by the Christians during the first five centuries A.D. Included in this period is the catacomb art that was done between the second and third centuries A.D., and the art that was done openly after 313 A.D. Although there have been few remains of the art done during the first two centuries, there are catacomb frescoes that may have been done by the early Christians.
In 256 A.D. the Persians destroyed Dura-Europos, a city located on the Euphrates River. A house there yielded mural paintings with the subjects Adam and Eve, the Good Shepherd and the Women at the Sepulcher. In Rome, archaeologists discovered early Christian artifacts used to celebrate communions. In Italian and Provencal sarcophagi there were many early Christian artworks. Christians portrayed the new faith with allegorical signs: the fish for Christ, the dove for the soul, the peacock for immortality, and bread and wine for the Eucharist. Rome, Arles, and the coast of Spain and Italy yielded many sculptures dated during the second century.