The color of Virgin Mary and the meanings behind those colors in different illuminated manuscripts.

The colors of Virgin Mary’s clothes always include one most important element– blue. Blue is the symbol of peace, royalty and nature, which is the quality of a great mother of Jesus and the example of females in the traditional biblical culture.

On the  cover of the ‘Books of Hours’ , wearing a pink cape and a blue dress inside, Virgin felt the Christ Child in her womb with the greeting of St Elizabeth.  Another one of the uncountable examples from the book would be plate 29. A young man kneed before Virgin Mary and her child, praying ‘I beseech you, holy lady!’ The blue is the same blue except that, it decorates a fabulous cape with delicate golden edges.

However, other colors were also used in the portrait of Virgin Mary, such as orange, pink and white in different scenarios. So my question would be: what are the symbols of these different colors? What do those colors illuminate or hide? What roles do colors in general play in the depiction of the glorious figures?

2 Replies to “The color of Virgin Mary and the meanings behind those colors in different illuminated manuscripts.”

  1. I think you are right on with your idea of a strong relationship between colors and religion. While I am most familiar with Christianity, I would assume all religions associate certain colors with certain values. The ones that come up quite often within Christianity are the association between the color red and blood, black and death, white and purity/innocence, green and the birth of “something,” purple as a symbol of royalty and so on. All illuminated manuscripts are extremely colorful and depict divine individuals and scenes. Thus, it becomes even clearer that the choice of color in the manuscripts add yet another layer of complexity and meaning to the text.

  2. Addressing the question you closed with, I think that color, particularly in religious art is linked to accessibility. Attributing symbolic meaning to certain colors, or for example, specifically associating them with x saint or trait, makes them easier to understand. Religion was for everyone-thus the visual language of faith had to be comprehensible to all. “Blue = Virgin Mary” is a straightforward and easily remembered association, like when a child learns with picture books “Yellow = Sun = Happy.” Colors teach. They were and still are a powerful means of conferring symbolic meaning.

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