Aureole: encircles the whole body, belongs to God but is used for Virgin Mary too.
Triangular nimbus refers to the trinity. Square nimbus is used for persons still living when the representation was made.
Glory: nimbus +aureole. God and the Virgin.
These symbols appeared in Christian art in the 5th century until the 16th century. They’re still employed to the nowadays without the careful distinction of their earliest use.
The Fish: the fish was the earliest and most universal Christian symbol. The Greek word for fish is composed of the initial letters of the geek name for Jesus Christ Son of God the Savior, anagram of the title of Jesus.
The fish is also an emblem of water and the rite of baptism, of the vocation of the apostles as ‘fisher of men’ .
The Lamb: An emblem of the Savior form the earliest period of Christian art.
The twelve apostles are represented by as many lambs, while the thirteen, the symbol of Christ, bears the cross or a nimbus and is generally larger than the others.
The lamb is also symbol of purity, modesty and innocence (St. Agnes).
The Lion: Another symbol of Christ, ‘the Lion of Judah’, sometimes symbolical of the resurrection.
It’s the emblem of solitude (hermits as St. Jerome), of early Christian martyrs, or placed at the feet of someone to denote their courage and fortitude under sufferings and martyrdom.
The Pelican: The emblem of redemption, through the sufferings of Christ.
The Dragoon: Is the symbol of sin and paganism. It is represented as conquered by Christianity, as in the legends of St. Michael, St. Margaret, St. George and St. Sylvester.
The Serpent: Emblem of the sin. Sometimes is placed at the feet of the Virgin; sometimes twined around a globe to indicate the power of sin over the entire world.
The Unicorn: Emblem of female chastity. Attribute of the Virgin and St. Justina.
The Peacock: It symbolizes the change from life to immortality.
It’s characteristic of tombs and sarcophagus.
It’s derived from pagan art where it represented the apotheosis of an empress. It was the bird of the goddess Juno.
The Dove: It symbolizes the soul, purity and is also the symbol of the Holy Ghost and of spiritual inspiration.
It represent the divine spirit when it hovers over holy men and is characteristic of pictures of the baptisme of Christ, the Pentecost, and the Annunciation.
The Olive: Sometimes the emblem of peace ( Archangel Gabriel).
The Palm: It’s the symbol of martyrdom. It is placed in martyr's hands, carved in their tombs, and brought to them by angels.
The Lily: Symbolizes chastity and purity. Especially in pictures of the annunciation and St. Joseph.
The Apple: Emblem of the fall in paradise.
When presented to the infant savior it signifies redemption.
The Roses: Legends of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, St. Cecilia, St. Dorothea.
Associated with Mary to refer to Jesus passion.
The Pomegranate: It is the symbol of a hopeful future.
The Lamp or Lantern: Frequently the symbol of piety.
Associated to St. Lucia means heavenly wisdom or spiritual light.
Fire and Flames: Emblems of zeal and fervor of soul, or of the sufferings of martyrdom.
The Flaming Heart: It is symbolical of fervent piety and spiritual love
The Crown: Madonna refers to her as queen of heaven.
When it’s the attribute of a martyr it means the victory over sin and death, or – if placed at their feet- denotes that the saint was of royal blood.
Frequently seen on the heads of female saints to signifies her consecration as the bride of Christ.
The Hind or Hart: Attribute of St. Eustace, St. Procopius, St. Giles and St. Hubert.
Emblem of solitude and hermit life.
The Sword, Axe, lance and Club: Are all symbols of martyrdom