Major Symbol in Art - Dove

Symbol - a communication element intended to simply represent or stand for a complex of person, object, group, or idea. Symbols may be presented graphically for example dove.

The dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, purity, peace and love. Dove as a symbol of Holy Spirit is taken from the story of Jesus' baptism, where the Spirit descended on him in the form of a dove. The nimbus, aureole (symbol of divinity, supreme power or eternal life) or simple circle around its head identifies the Holy Spirit as a member of the Trinity. A dove shown without the nimbus or aureole is a symbol , purity or earth love, whereas dove with olive life is a symbol of peace.

The dove as a symbol of purity and peace. 
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The image will appear in the new window. Dove as a symbol of purity is taken from the Bible's law of Moses. The dove was declared to be pure and for this reason was used as an offering for purification after the birth of a child. In Christian art dove sometimes appears on the top of Joseph's rod to show that he was chosen to be the husband of the Virgin Mary. The most important use of the dove in Christian art, however, is as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Dove appears as the Holy Spirit in the story of the baptism of Christ. Matteush in his Gospel 3:16 wrote: "And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him". The Dove as a Holy Spirit is present also in representation such Christian themes as descend of the Holy Ghost and Trinity, the Baptism, Annunciation to Mary, Crucifixion of the Jesus, and Virgin and Child, cleansing of the Temple, presentation in the Temple, Pietas and others.

The dove is also connected with the lives of several saints. It may rest on the saint's hand or a shoulder, or a book, or may hover above his/her head. The dove was seen by the father of St. Catherine of Siena above her head while she was in prayer. St. Benedict saw the soul of his sister St. Scholastica flying up to Heaven in the shape of a white dove. White dove of the Holy Spirit used to perch upon St. Gregory the Great shoulder while he wrote.

The dove as a symbol of purity and peace. 
To see the full size click the image.
The image will appear in the new window. The dove also is a symbol of good tidings and peace. For first time this peace symbol was mentioned in the Bible story of the flood. Noah sent out the dove from the ark to check if the waters had receded after flood. The dove returned back carrying an olive branch in his beak to show that God had made peace with men. (Gen. 8:10-11. "He waited another seven days, and again he sent out the dove from the ark; and the dove came back to him in the evening, and there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf; so Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth.")

The dove as a beauty symbol on the Picasso drawing. 
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The image will appear in the new window. The dove's reputed peaceful, gentle character made it also a symbol of love and tenderness. It became a permanent companion of ancient goddesses Aphrodite, Venus, and Astarte and become symbol of divine beauty. Ancient Romans believed that white dove's egg has a magic aphrodisiac power, therefore it eggs were used as a popular man medicine.

The dove was a symbol for the soul in India as well whereas in China it stood for marital fidelity and longevity.

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