"As summarized in a recent article, the Old and New Testament provide many descriptions of the words and actions of Jesus but none about his looks. That's why painters and icon-makers relied mostly on artistic canon, rather than realism, when they had to portray the Messiah in icons or frescoes. The same principle goes for Mary, as the scriptures do not provide many details about her appearance either.
"But by looking
at the earliest depictions of the Blessed Mother, we can infer a lot
about the main character traits that artists wanted to stress - from
nurturing and motherly love to obedience to God - and about the different
artistic styles developed by Christian communities during the first nine
centuries of Christianity."
To access her complete post, please visit:
Aleteia: V. M. Traverso: The oldest images of Mary (19 OCT 18)