Why is Mary Pictured with a Blue Mantle?
In the Old Testament, the Ark of the Covenant was covered in blue (or “violet”) fabric for traveling (Numbers 4:5-6). God’s Presence would “rest” on the Ark as a king sits on his throne (Exodus 25:22). When Mary agreed to be the Mother of Jesus (i.e. God), she became is living “resting place.” In art, Mary’s blue mantle signals she is the new Ark of the Covenant.
Blue also indicates Mary’s royal status. Jesus is the King of Heaven making Mary the Queen Mother. In Biblical times, the mother (not the wife) of the king was the queen. She wasn’t as powerful as the king, but her intercession with him had significant influence.
Mary is not God, but her intercessory prayers for us are powerful because she is Jesus’ mother. When we consider that Mary is also our mother by grace, her blue mantle invites us to entrust our concerns to her. Rather than an obstacle to Jesus, Mary leads us directly to him by a sure, safe path.