The Hidden Symbolism  of Colors in Western Art   

 For painters of the Byzantine, Gothic and Early Renaissance periods, fruit was part of a rich visual language.  Art-works exhibited in public, mostly in churches and courthouses, were a stern proclamation that everyone could readily understand. William H. Hunt once wrote "When language was not transcendental enough to complete the meaning of a revelation, symbols were relied upon for heavenly teaching, and familiar images, chosen from the known, were made to mirror the unknown spiritual truth." Paintings, with their layer upon layer of vivid symbolism, served as a grim reminder to anyone harboring lustful thoughts or indulging in carnal pleasures.  They warned the viewer that death was just around the corner and Satan was at the ready with his pitchfork. Paintings throughout Western history have been used as guides in illuminating the divine mysteries of Gods Holy Word.  Byzantine, Gothic and Early Renaissance paintings are rich in philosophical and Christian symbolism regarding the Colors.

The symbolic interpretation of Colors used in  Byzantine, Gothic and Renaissance Painting

Blue -  symbolizes purity; The Virgin Mary; Virgin and Child; The Immaculate Conception.

Purple - symbolizes Christ in Majesty, In Byzantine Style painting Important Holy figures wear purple robes, outlined in red.

Red- a symbol of greediness and lust. Denotes sin; sins of mankind, original sin; temptation, Judas,  Harrowing of Hell, The Fiery Furnace, Slaughter of the Innocents, Apocalypse  

Green -  symbolizes the Resurrection, the Ascension, Baptism 

White - is a sign of innocence; Birth, Youth, Betrothal and Marriage; The Virgin Mary; Virgin and Child; The Immaculate Conception, The Holy Family

Grey/Black/Dark Brown - symbolic of the Entombment, Crosses, Crucifixes 

Yellow - symbolizes a remembrance of the spiritual world ; miracles, harmony, sustenance of the soul

Pink - symbolizes eternal innocence; The Virgin Mary; Virgin and Child; The Immaculate Conception

Orange -  a symbol of materialism and desire for worldly goods in favor of spiritual health. Denotes indulgence; carnal desires, original sin; corruption, Judas the betrayer of Christ.




The Meaning of Sacred Symbols in  Paintings. Most prominently featured  symbols and their meaning: If you like this page and wish to share it, you are welcome to link to it, with our thanks.

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