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The double rainbow in the “Stuppach Madonna” - explaining the 2 or 4 rainbows (nimbus-banners) in a medieval painting

The double rainbow in the “Stuppach Madonna” - explaining the 2 or 4 rainbows (nimbus-banners) in a medieval painting

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Published by jwr47
The Stuppach Madonna (German: Stuppacher Madonna) is a 1514 - 1519 painting of the Madonna and Child by the German Renaissance painter Matthias Grünewald. Of course the Madonna has been painted with brighter (red, purple and blue) colors as displayed on the image.
At the end of the Middle Age the rainbow of course is to be considered as a religious symbol. A double rainbow even signifies both rainbows as attributes to God (who may be identified in a swarm of angels at the top left position of the paining) and to the Madonna with her child Jesus.

Strange as it may seem the double rainbow has not been drawn the correct way. The colors red and blue have been ordered in a particular way, which contrary to physics have been rearranged to fit the symbolic meaning.
The inner rainbow has been drawn with a red banner at the inside, immediately followed by the blue banner, which should be located at the outside borderline of the rainbow.
The blue banner is broader than the red banner, which may indicate to attribute the blue symbol to the adult Mother Mary and the tiny red banner to the male child.
According to the laws of physics the red band should be at the upper side of the primary rainbow, which obviously has been ignored by the painter - probably to associate the red (male) symbol to the child Jesus.

These red and blue banners as close neighbors are oriented at the side of the Madonna and Jesus, and suggest to consider these symbolic colors as attributes to the saints.
The upper rainbow is a secondary rainbow, which should reveal a reversed sequence of the colors. The secondary rainbow however is barely identifiable and has only be painted exactly between the Madonna and God in the sky. Probably the same red & blue tapes have been oriented at the side of the divine Being.
Grunewald's Stuppacher Madonna therefore probably signifies that the rainbow's red & blue colors are the main medieval symbols in the rainbow's symbolism.
The Stuppach Madonna (German: Stuppacher Madonna) is a 1514 - 1519 painting of the Madonna and Child by the German Renaissance painter Matthias Grünewald. Of course the Madonna has been painted with brighter (red, purple and blue) colors as displayed on the image.
At the end of the Middle Age the rainbow of course is to be considered as a religious symbol. A double rainbow even signifies both rainbows as attributes to God (who may be identified in a swarm of angels at the top left position of the paining) and to the Madonna with her child Jesus.

Strange as it may seem the double rainbow has not been drawn the correct way. The colors red and blue have been ordered in a particular way, which contrary to physics have been rearranged to fit the symbolic meaning.
The inner rainbow has been drawn with a red banner at the inside, immediately followed by the blue banner, which should be located at the outside borderline of the rainbow.
The blue banner is broader than the red banner, which may indicate to attribute the blue symbol to the adult Mother Mary and the tiny red banner to the male child.
According to the laws of physics the red band should be at the upper side of the primary rainbow, which obviously has been ignored by the painter - probably to associate the red (male) symbol to the child Jesus.

These red and blue banners as close neighbors are oriented at the side of the Madonna and Jesus, and suggest to consider these symbolic colors as attributes to the saints.
The upper rainbow is a secondary rainbow, which should reveal a reversed sequence of the colors. The secondary rainbow however is barely identifiable and has only be painted exactly between the Madonna and God in the sky. Probably the same red & blue tapes have been oriented at the side of the divine Being.
Grunewald's Stuppacher Madonna therefore probably signifies that the rainbow's red & blue colors are the main medieval symbols in the rainbow's symbolism.

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Published by: jwr47 on Apr 08, 2012
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04/08/2015

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The double rainbow in the “Stuppach Madonna”
Joannes Richter The
 Stuppach Madonna
(German: Stuppacher Madonna) is a 1514 - 1519 painting of the Madonnaand Child by the German Renaissance painter Matthias Grünewald. Of course the Madonna has been painted with brighter (red, purple and blue) colors as displayed on the image.At the end of the Middle Age the rainbow of course is to be considered as a religious symbol. Adouble rainbow even signifies both rainbows as attributes to God (who may be identified in aswarm of angels at the top left position of the paining) and to the Madonna with her child Jesus.
 part of a
 -licensed under the
 
 Fig. 1: The Stuppach Madonna by Matthias Grünewald 
 
Strange as it may seem the double rainbow has not been drawn the correct way. The colors red and blue have been ordered in a particular way, which contrary to physics have been rearranged to fitthe symbolic meaning.The inner rainbow has been drawn with a red banner at the inside, immediately followed by the blue banner, which should be located at the outside borderline of the rainbow.The blue banner is broader than the red banner, which may indicate to attribute the blue symbol tothe adult Mother Mary and the tiny red banner to the male child.According to the laws of physics the red band should be at the upper side
1
of the primary rainbow,which obviously has been ignored by the painter - probably to associate the red (male) symbol tothe child Jesus.These red and blue banners as close neighbors are oriented at the side of the Madonna and Jesus,and suggest to consider these symbolic colors as attributes to the saints.The upper rainbow is a secondary rainbow, which should reveal a reversed sequence of the colors.The secondary rainbow however is barely identifiable and has only be painted exactly between theMadonna and God in the sky. Probably the same red & blue tapes have been oriented at the side of the divine Being.Grunewald's Stuppacher Madonna therefore probably signifies that the rainbow's red & blue colorsare the main medieval symbols in the rainbow's symbolism.
1See samples at the source: Rainbow
 Fig. 2: Red and blue banners located close together at the main rainbow
 
Improvement of analysis reveals the rainbows' structure better from printed medium:
 Fig. 3: Red and blue banners located close together at the main rainbow Fig. 4: Secondary rainbow

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