With its sonorous depictions of martyrs and other immaculate figures, gothic art is one of the most powerful forms of Christian iconography. All one has to do is walk through one of the massive cathedrals or heavily adorned churches found throughout Europe to understand the power of its solemn aesthetic, but there’s no need to make such a pilgrimage, because there are plenty of gothic tattoos in the world to behold.
Gothic art is a subset of Medieval art that grew out of Northern France during the 12th century. Over the course of the next several hundred years, the style spread throughout Europe and elsewhere, shifting into its “International” period, in which it became more refined and widely popularized among the mercantile class. Artists in this movement used a number of mediums — including sculpture, stained glass, and illuminated manuscripts — to depict Christian imagery, like saints, Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ, archangels, and more.
Tattooists have expounded on the art found in cathedrals to create gothic tattoos. It is especially prominent in black and grey work. Lil B demonstrates how the dark style perfectly captures the stately appearance of religious icons. A number of artists — Arlo DiCristina, Mumia, Simon Chognot, and Tony Mancia — combine gothic motifs with other realistic imagery to great compositions as mystifying as the divine itself. Others use different approaches to creating tattoos to channel the spirit of gothic art, as seen Houston Patton beautiful architectural blackwork and Mikael de Poissy picture-perfect renditions of stained-glass windows.
Though these artists recreate the age-old religious aesthetic in vastly different ways, all of their work emulates the grandeur of art made in God’s image and demonstrates how tattoos are the new domain of the gothic.
To see more tattoos modeled on the sculptures, stained-glass, and other art germane to the gothic, visit these artists’ Instagrams. Should you want a gothic tattoo of your own, commission one of them to turn you into a walking, talking cathedral.