Symbols in Renaissance Art: Coral
Often more subtly placed in paintings, coral was quite popular among Renaissance elites. Not only were the shells exotic and expensive, but the vibrant red hue symbolized significant religious and secular beliefs. In some Madonna and child scenes coral can be found strung above the figures or worn by the infant Christ as a necklace, foreshadowing the Passion. The precious stone was thought to have mystical qualities and beaded necklaces were gifted to children as protective amulets (it also doubled as a teething toy). For women, the brightly colored beads symbolized their fertility and vitality.