Go Big or Go Home!
Sean “Diddy” Combs is a huge believer in the expression “go big or go home,” so when he decided to get a Bible-themed tattoo, naturally, he went with a massive and incredibly lifelike rendering of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus that covers his entire back. Diddy’s huge new tattoo extends from the Basquiat “King of Kings” tattoo on the back of his neck, all the way down to his waistline, and features a breathtaking portrait of the Black Madonna and Child dressed in beautifully ornate clothing, wearing large crowns upon their heads.
She's Got His Back
On June 14, Diddy shared a photo of his fresh back tattoo on Twitter, captioning the snapshot, “I got the front And She got my BACK!!!” giving a shoutout to the tattoo artist responsible for the ink, Nikko Hurtado, owner of the Black Anchor Collective tattoo shop in Hesperia, California. Hurtado specializes in realism tattoos and color portraits, and his knack for bringing incredibly detailed images to life is evident in Diddy’s back piece.
For those wondering how Diddy landed on this particular image when planning his Biblical back tattoo, it appears the piece was inspired by a well-known copy of a 15th century Ethiopian painting of the Madonna and Child, which depicts the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus with dark skin. The Virgin Mary portrait tattoo is also similar in design to Our Lady of Czestochowa, now referred to as the “Black Madonna,” an icon from around that same time period. Just a few days before debuting his back tat, Diddy posted a more rudimentary image of the Black Madonna and Child, Salvatore Fiume’s Madonna Nera Con Bambino, to his Instagram account, captioning the post simply, “Love.”
A Closer Look at the Tattoo and Its Possible Meaning
There has been a spirited debate on Twitter about what Diddy’s tattoo means, but it seems the piece may actually have a deep historical significance. According to one source, “the blackness of the [Mother and Child] images is purportedly not related to race or ethnic origins, but has to do with symbolic meanings and connections to early goddesses.” In Catholicism, the Black Madonna “is the Sorrowful Mother, Mater Dolorosa, the Madonna of Solitude and Sorrow, who can receive and contain even our most unbearable pain.” As an artist in the 1950s, Meinrad Craighead, described the image of the Mother and Child, “On her face is an expression of utter solitude so intense that the child on her knee or in the embrace of her left arm seems strangely appended.”
Whatever the historical significance of the Black Madonna, in Diddy’s eyes, his back tattoo may simply be intended as yet another example of #BlackExcellence.