Color Matters: The Brain: Color & Culture Matters

The bride in this Renaissance masterpiece wears green as a symbol of her fertility. She is slouching in imitation of pregnancy, thus indicating her willingness to bear children.

Giovani Arnolfini and His Bride by Jan van Eyck
Giovanni Arnolfini and His Bride
by Jan Van Eyck, 1434


The evolution of the symbolism of green in Western culture:

In Celtic myths the Green man was the God of fertility.

Later in the millennium, Early Christians banned green because it had been used in pagan ceremonies.

Nevertheless, as evidenced by this 15th Century wedding portrait, the color green was the best choice for the bride's gown because of its earliest symbolism.

Of note is the continued symbolism attached to the color in the latter part of this century. Anyone who chooses a green m & m (an American candy which contains an assortment of different colored chocolate sweets) is sending a somewhat similar message. Green has been reinterpreted by late 20th century American culture to signify a state of heightened sexuality in this specific situation.

Bride in Green
Other bride colors:
Green trivia: