Mary of Nazareth has undoubtedly become one of the most beloved emblems in western religion. She symbolizes a mingling of human and the divine, warmth, motherly love, and sacrifice. As body art, Virgin Mary tattoos have come to express these ideals to the fullest, and many people choose these pieces as a tribute, not only to the woman herself, but to the strength of womanhood as a whole.
Many Virgin Mary tattoos depict the mother of Jesus in a traditional fashion. These pictures show her with a sweet, yet melancholy expression; her face is often bowed down over praying hands; her head is frequently framed in light, while her person is covered in heavy blue, cloth robes. In some versions, she may be swathed in dark velvet; she may not be surrounded in light, but may appear to have a gentle glow about her skin instead; and, in place of praying hands, she may also be pressing either the baby Jesus, or a small, white lamb to her breast. Although most of these pieces are done in the style of illustration, they may also appear in the fashion of stained glass.
You may also see Virgin Mary tattoos that take on an either realistic, or artistic approach. The realistic style is occasionally culled from photographs of modern women. These pieces tend to show her in the traditional manner; however, they appear to be a portrait rather than an illustration. The artistic style is frequently pulled straight from classic paintings. Some of the more popular versions consist of the cracked, but golden, “Our Lady of Vladimir,” from 12th century Russia; “The Annunciation” by El Greco; and “Madonna And Angels” by Fra Angelico. Many people like to use a variety of religious symbols to help accentuate their depiction of the Virgin Mary. For example, she may be wrapped in a sheet of golden, sun-like cloth, stand upon a small moon, and wear a crown of twelve stars – as is stated in texts of the Canticles. She may also have a white star emblazoned on the front of her robes; she may carry a rose or small, white lily in her delicate hands; or you may see an infant Jesus presenting a pomegranate to his beloved mortal mother.
Although Virgin Mary tattoos are surprisingly common, they are by no means a fad. These pieces represent not only the symbolism of the icon herself, but also a keen sense of religious devotion.