Red and Blue in the Middle Age
Joannes Richter Purple, Red and Blue have been symbolic, religious colours for ages. This document reveals some more documentations of purple, red & blue... referring to religious symbols as described in The Fundamental Color Symbols Blue and Red
Fig. 1: The Tribute Money by Masaccio (1420)
The image is from the Wikimedia Commons. The info has been copied from Wikipedia: The Tribute Money
The Tribute Money is a fresco by the Italian renaissance painter Masaccio, located in the Brancacci Chapel of the basilica of Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence, and completed by his senior collaborator, Masolino. Painted in the 1420s, it is widely considered among Massaccio's best work, and a vital part of the development of renaissance art. The story is told in three parts that do not occur sequentially, but the narrative logic is still maintained, through compositional devises. The central scene is that of the tax collector demanding the tribute. The head of Christ is the vanishing point of the painting, drawing the eyes of the spectator there. Both Christ and Peter then point to the left hand part of the painting, where the next scene takes place in the middle background: Peter taking the money out of the mouth of the fish. The final scene – where Peter pays the tax collector – is at the right. Traditionally Jesus is dressed in pink and blue. While the holy men are dressed almost entirely in robes of pastel pink and blue, the official wears a shorter tunic of a striking vermilion. The colour adds to the impertinence expressed through his gestures. The colours are contrasting the holy men and the impertinent tax collector.
The Virgin Mary
Fig. 2: Mary in purple, red and blue garments Mary (detail) in the painting “Nativity” (1470) by Piero della Francesca (detail) The complete painting shows Mary kneeling in adoration before a newly-born Christ who is laid on her deep blue cloak. Mary is wearing purple, (yellow interior), red and blue garments.
A thirteenth-century manuscript
The following pages reveal alternating red and blue initial letters in a medical manuscript. The colours for the large letters and small letters have been alternated according to special rules. The herb Artemisia is depicted flanked by the goddess Artemis handing the herb to the centaur Chiron, famous for his healing art.
Fig. 3: The herb Artemisia flanked by Artemis
On the left is the famous “cure-all” vervain, and a man killing a snake holding the herb Verminacia. On the right is a mad dog, its victim and a doctor, as well as a sedative plant henbane.
Fig. 4: Alternating red and blue initial letters in a medical manuscript
Coronation ceremony for King Henry IV
In 1399 Henry Bolingbroke was crowned King Henry IV. But he had taken the crown by force and this wrongful seizure was to haunt the Lancastrians throughout their reigns. All attendants at the coronation ceremony are dressed in purple, red and/or blue robes. Henry IV reveals a coat of arms in Red and Blue.
Fig. 5: coat of arms for Henry IV
Fig. 6: Coronation ceremony for Henry IV
Coats of arms of England 1340 - today
The first known English Royal arms, a golden lion, rampant, on a red field was first used by King Henry. The first arms of King Richard I "The Lionheart", revealed two golden lions, combatant, on a red field. However King Henry and King Richard I "The Lionheart" have been buried in red and blue robes at the Fontevraud Abbey. Check the colours for the tombs of Henry II, Richard I and Eleanor of Aquitaine in Fontevraud Abbey. In 1340 King Edward III quartered the Royal Arms of England with the ancient arms of France, the fleurs-de-lis on a blue field, to signal his claim to the French throne.
Fig. 7: Coat of arms of England 1340 - 1367 King Henry IV updated the French arms to the modern version, three fleurs-de-lis on a blue field.
Fig. 8: Coat of arms of England 1405-1603 GNU Free Documentation License, both created by Ipankonin Starting from 1340 the red-and -bue-combination has been used in the coats of arms up till today. See the overview in: Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom
Emperor Charlemagne is being crowned at a solemn ceremony on Christmas Day, AD 800, by Pope Leo at Rome. The Pope is wearing a purple garment, Charlemagne is dressed in blue and the surrounding persons are wearing purple, blue or red robes.
Fig. 9: Coronation of Charlemagne (AD 800)
The Agony in the Garden
The Agony in the Garden by El Greco depicts Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane while some apostles are sleeping and Judas plots with Roman soldiers. Jesus has been dressed in traditional religious garments coloured red & blue. Judas and the Roman soldiers have been painted in yellow, obviously symbolizing evil. The angel bringing a chalice (with a bitter drink ?) is bringing evil as well and may be carrying a yellow robe for this reason as well.
Fig. 10: The Agony in the Garden by El Greco c.1595. Oil on canvas. Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH, USA.
This medieval manuscript reveals alternating red and blue scripture. God's promise to the Father of the Virgin Mary that she would be born. The Father of the Virgin Mary has been dressed in blue and red, revealing a golden halo (nimbus)
Fig. 11: God's promise to the Father of the Virgin Mary
The Portuguese Banners
Fig. 12: Portuguese ships seen off a rocky coast (1530) These Portuguese ships seem to be wearing the banner of Henry the Navigator (1394 – 1460). Henry the Navigator (1394 – 1460) was an infante (prince) of the Kingdom of Portugal and an important figure in the early days of the Portuguese Empire, being responsible for the beginning of the European worldwide explorations. The dominating colours for this banner are red, white, golden and blue.
Fig. 13: Banner of Henry the Navigator
Arms of the Portuguese Prince Henry, the Navigator, Duke of Viseu., by Odejea
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