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Apart from being an expression of individuality, tattoos can also be an expression of devotion. Religious figures and symbols have a long history in body art. Here, we rounded up the most iconic Virgin Mary tattoos to strengthen your spirituality.
What Are the Symbolic Meanings of Virgin Mary Tattoos?
Inspired by icons and paintings in churches, Virgin Mary tattoos reflect the Christian faith. In the Bible, Mary became miraculously pregnant by means of the holy spirit and gave birth to Christ while she was a virgin. Some Christians worship her as the mother of Christ, while others believe that she’s more depicted in the Scriptures as a follower of Jesus, and only chosen to give birth to him.
Beliefs vary among denominations, but some devout Christians decided to incorporate her image in their body art to show their devotion. Some tattoo artists depict her with other religious symbols like cross, rosary, dove, sacred heart, as well as images of Christ. In some designs, she’s even portrayed holding her hands together in prayer.
Most Virgin Mary tattoos depict the idea of the “Immaculate Conception,” in which the New Catholic Encyclopedia says that it’s the belief the she was free from sin from the very beginning of her life. No wonder, many associate the tattoo with chastity and grace. In the Scriptures, she set a fine example of humility, spirituality, obedience and faith, which also contributes to the overall meaning of the tattoo.
In some instances, these tattoos are also a source of hope and comfort in times of distress. While some designs are done in American traditional styles, others are portrayed in minimalist linework or bold blackwork. Some have traditional images of the religious figure, such as the Our Lady of Guadalupe, while others look more of a portrait of a woman.
Virgin Mary Tattoo Inspirations for You
Virgin Mary “Grey Wash” Hand Tattoo
There are many styles of tattooing, and this one reminds us of the “grey wash” tattoo that creates contrast and density with diluted black inks. In body art, “washing” refers to the act of diluting the pigment to get a lighter shade—and even a 3D effect. In this Virgin Mary tattoo, the tattoo artist made use of different shades of black from solid black to dark wash and light wash.
Virgin Mary Realism Tattoo
Did you know that the tattoo style was inspired by the realism art movement in France during the 1850s? The realism in art is meant to look more natural and realistic. This Virgin Mary tattoo looks more of a real life photograph of a woman filled with emotions.
The Virgin Mary and Graphic Tattoo
In some instances, the Virgin Mary tattoo is depicted in a mix of tattoo styles. This one merges the minimalist linework with the blackwork technique, which creates a stunning contrast and draws the focus on the subject.
The Virgin Mary and the Rosary
Some incorporate religious symbols like rose and rosary to the Virgin Mary tattoo. In this body art, the tattoo artist also used the negative space or the empty space in a pattern to create a design, which highlighted the cross.
Virgin Mary Linework Tattoo
On contrary to realism and blackwork, the linework tattoo looks simpler and understated. Most of the time, it is done without shading or filling. To make this Virgin Mary tattoo more creative, the tattoo artist used colorful inks, which made the minimalistic art more interesting.
Virgin Mary in Prayer
The blackwork technique is evident in this Virgin Mary tattoo, in which the design looks more macabre. A great thing, it also has depth and density due to the grey wash shading. Also, the negative space perfectly complemented the solid black background of the design.
The Tears of Blood
Another example of realism art, this Virgin Mary tattoo looks like a photograph, but the artist used a dark red ink to portray the tears of blood, which evokes thoughts and emotions.
Virgin Mary Illustrative Sleeve Tattoo
The illustrative tattoo is inspired by many art styles, from realism to surrealism and abstract. This Virgin Mary tattoo looks like the depiction in a storybook, which is creative and amazing.
Virgin Mary Abstract Tattoo
For some, tattoo is more than just an expression of their devotion—it also represents their ideals and outlook in life. We might not know the exact meaning behind this Virgin Mary tattoo, but it only proves that you can make your body art more personal and a bit unexpected.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Tattoo
This Virgin Mary tattoo reminds us of the images in a Catholic Church and the belief on the Virgin of Guadalupe. Who says a religious tattoo can’t make a bold style statement?
Virgin Mary Traditional Tattoo
Traditional tattoos feature bold lines and strategic shading, which makes them classic. Tattoos are permanent, so they should reflect one’s beliefs and values, such as this Virgin Mary tattoo.
The Virgin Mary and the Skull
An unexpected twist to a Virgin Mary tattoo, this design is done in blackwork with a macabre theme. It reminds us of Gothic tattoos with skulls and crosses, but this one is more religious and personal to the wearer.
The Virgin Mary in Tears Tattoo
This Virgin Mary tattoo features a mix of realism and grey wash technique. The tattoo artist depicted her in tears in most natural and photographic way.
Virgin Mary Dotwork Tattoo
While linework tattoo creates design using line patterns, dotwork tattoos are composed of individual dots which build the entire design. This Virgin Mary tattoo uses both techniques, but if you’ll look closely, the shading in the image is entirely composed of dots placed together. Technically, the tattoo artist used the so-called stick-and-poke method with a single needle. Sometimes, highly skilled artists even go for pointillism to create shapes and shading, which is more intricate and complex.
Hands in Prayer Tattoo
A mix of grey wash and realism, this Virgin Mary tattoo has more detailing and shading. It isn’t as heavy as the blackwork and isn’t as minimal as the dotwork.
The Traditional Virgin Mary Tattoo
Featuring the Our Lady of Guadalupe, this Virgin Mary tattoo is depicted with bright colors and bold lines. It reminds us of the classic or traditional tattoo style, which was a favorite of British sailors. It’s said that the tattooing style came from Asia and Polynesia, but it’s now widely called as the American traditional tattoo.
Virgin Mary and the Sacred Heart
For some, the symbolism of the Sacred Heart reminds them of Christ’s passionate love for mankind. This Virgin Mary tattoo is a combination of dotwork and linework technique, which created an elegant body art.
Virgin Mary and the Dove
In Christianity, the dove is the symbol of hope, which was inspired by the story of Noah and the Great Flood. No wonder, many incorporate the emblem in their Virgin Mary tattoo.
The Virgin Mary Blackwork Tattoo
In this Virgin Mary tattoo, the artist used the negative space to build the image, giving a striking contrast to the solid black background.
Virgin Mary and the Symbol of Hope
Detailed and illustrative, this Virgin Mary tattoo looks like a photograph on the skin. Most of the time, tattoo artists combine several techniques and styles to create a unique masterpiece.
The Hyperrealism Virgin Mary Tattoo
The more illustrative version of the realism tattoo, the hyperrealism uses more realistic colors for shading, as well as strategic highlights to create 3D effects. This Virgin Mary tattoo is photorealistic, which make the image look like it’s just in front of you.
The Three Sword Tattoo
The tattoo artists played with contrasts to create drama and evoke emotions. This Virgin Mary tattoo reminds us of the traditional style, but it’s more refined and detailed. Also, it has an abstract theme that’s personal to the wearer.
The Virgin Mary with Halo Tattoo
This Virgin Mary tattoo looks more of a sketch or illustration, combined with the religious ideology of the wearer. It might look simpler than other designs, but it reveals its symbolic meanings itself.
Virgin Mary Chest Tattoo
Artistic and expressive, this Virgin Mary tattoo is surrounded with other symbols, which seems like it’s telling a story. If you want to have multiple tattoos, you have to be strategic with the placement, making sure the design wouldn’t clash. In fact, you may combine abstract themes and varying subjects together as long as they complement each other.
Virgin Mary Praying in Rosary Tattoo
Traditional tattoos look simpler than other styles, which makes this Virgin Mary tattoo classic and timeless. As you can see, it features bold lines and softer shading which bring balance to the overall design.
Virgin Mary and the Crown
This Virgin Mary tattoo reminds us of the pointillism of the dotwork technique, which created intricate patterns and detailed design. A great thing, you can create minimalistic to elaborate tattoos with the technique.
Modern Virgin Mary Tattoo
While you may go for geometric style to make everything more creative, you would want to keep the Virgin Mary tattoo delicate than over the top. Instead of intricate patterns, you may resort to 2D shapes or polygons as the base of your tattoo. The diamond shape is just perfect for a portrait, as well as rectangles, hexagons, pentagons, triangles and quadrilaterals.
Virgin Mary and Rose Tattoo
If you want to feature wide range of themes in your body art, pay attention with depth so that some design will look like the background of more important subjects. In this design, it’s no doubt that the Virgin Mary tattoo is the highlight of the story, complemented with rose and koi fish.
Virgin Mary Thigh Tattoo
If you want to keep everything straightforward, think of this Virgin Mary tattoo. It’s done in a traditional style, but this time, the other symbolism like the rose served like a frame of the subject.
Virgin Mary Watercolor Tattoo
Virgin Mary tattoos are often seen in black and white, but this one proves that the design can look artistic in colors too. As the name implies, watercolor tattoos seem like they’re painted onto your skin with brushes. However, it’s not as easy as the other tattooing styles, since the artist needs to be skilled and precise to make the design look like a painting. If you find the colorful version quite playful for your taste, you may still resort to brushstroke-like tattoos in black.
Fresco-Inspired Virgin Mary Tattoo
This Virgin Mary tattoos reminds us of the mural paintings in churches in Rome. It’s an artistic and expressive body art that reflects the faith and devotion of the wearer.
Immaculate Heart of Mary Tattoo
The tattoo has an illustrative quality into it, which depicted Virgin Mary’s virtues, perfection and joy. It might not look photorealistic, but still, it’s creative and expressive!
There are several kinds of religious tattoos for the Christian faith, but the most common are various renditions of the Virgin Mary. With these inspirations, you’ll be able to show your devotion and strengthen your spirituality.