Of all things beautiful and timeless, the rose is a hands-down winner. So get one of these amazing rose tattoos before it’s too late!
Roses have become the ultimate trope for love and romance, but apart from this common thematic association, there is more to roses than meets the eye.
The rose is perhaps one of those rare flowers which have so many myriad colour variants. It is generally believed that each rose colour represents a different symbolism.
In literary and cultural discourses, the evolution of rose from a metaphor to a trope is fascinating. Reference to roses can be traced back to times as early as the conception of the Roman theology where white roses accompanied the birth of Goddess Venus. In the medieval era, poems like The Romance of the Rose tell the story of a courtly lover who found paradise in the garden of roses. The Romantics of early 19th century Europe extensively exploited the symbol of the rose in their poetry as the epitome of beauty; 19th century English verses abound in instances where a woman’s disposition and charm are compared to that of a rose. But in no other times has people indulged in the symbolisms and sentiments of roses, as the Victorians did. They infused the flower dry with manifold symbolic manifestations thereby transforming it into a rich palimpsest of meanings and dialectics.
Before we check out some great rose tattoos, the changing symbolism of the rose must be taken into consideration. For example, a white rose was considered appropriate for a young maiden since the colour white stands for her virginal purity and chastity; a yellow rose was often used to convey the idea of infidelity; blushed pink rosebuds denoted the recent blooming of love in the heart of a young girl while a full-blown red one was a tribute to an adult woman, whose beauty and passion have attained fulfillment. Thus, rose tattoos in contemporary times can cover a wide range of thematic constructs ranging from the initial stirrings of love to its maturity; from sensual pleasures to the tragic culmination of that love affair.
For years roses have served the purpose of expressing complex human thought which could not be addressed through words. While some may restrict its symbolism only to the romantic, story tellers across the world have used this flower to depict layered meanings ranging from death to lust to destruction and death.
On that note, here we present to you a curated list of stunning rose tattoo ideas, each of which pays tribute to the ‘queen of everyone’ in its unique way.
Yellow Rose Tattoo
This is a realist artwork featuring a big yellow rose tattoo pulsating with life, set against a monochromatic template. The tattoo artist’s eye for details deserves a special mention. Each drop of dew on the petals is captured with such finesse that at times one takes them for real.
The colour yellow when it comes to roses has undergone positive symbolical changes since the Victorian era. In the 19th century, yellow roses signified infidelity, whereas in recent times exchanging yellow roses is heralded as a gesture of friendship and camaraderie. Since it is an elaborate design, you can opt for your back or the shoulder as feasible locations to get this tattoo inked. The texture of the tattoo is achieved using the watercolour technique which you can experiment with depending on your preferences.
Black Rose Tattoo x Rose Outline Tattoo
Small rose tattoos generally focus on the complex arrangement of the flower’s petals, but very few it seems can manage to do justice to the entire anatomy of the flower. The design shown here features an outline of a black rose tattoo fused with the outline of an inverted white rose tattoo.
As we can infer from the body art, it tries to bring together two binary opposites, i.e., black and white into a unified whole where one is the inverted as well as the subverted reflection of the other. It is an elegant design that can be worn either along your wrist or as is shown in the picture. It is a fine line artwork that combines abstract and minimalist aesthetic techniques to create a masterpiece of a black rose tattoo which is at once unique and universal.
Rose Neck Tattoo
This is an elaborate rose tattoo design which can also be worn as a rose chest tattoo. It strikes a fine balance between a traditional rose tattoo and a realistic one. You can choose a coloured version of it if you like but then the accessory designs accompanying the central tattoo must be altered to a certain extent so as to make sure that everything complements each other.
The rose as we already know is an untarnished paradigm of romance. To opt for a rose neck tattoo then is to celebrate the sublime sentiments that love entails while giving yourself into its ecstatic fascination.
Minimalist Red Rose Tattoo
It is a sparingly beautiful design whose charm and authenticitynear about make you fall head over heels in love with it! The tiny rose tattoo is perfect for your forearm, It is like a cherry on the top of your already dazzling personality.
The fine line technique applied in this case to outline the red rose tattoo takes the whole piece to a stratospheric level. If you are looking out for something understated and unique, then this one is for you. Like a real rose, the rose tattoo too manages to simulate the fresh and fragrant vibes which the flower exudes while epitomizing the unparalleled elegance and gracefulness of the original.
Rose Hip Tattoo
A luscious rose hip tattoo that interweaves the water colour aesthetics with impressionist drawing techniques into a rich tapestry of sizzling artwork.
The red colour of the rose tattoo has a dark base which allows the seductive appeal of the entire design to not lose its mysterious touch. The sheer magnificence of the body oozes a certain exuberance which is what makes it so powerfully attractive. It can be also worn as a rose shoulder tattoo owing to the voluptuousness of the artwork. Although the significance of red roses lies in their universal application as a gesture of love and passion, yet even within red roses there are rose colour meanings to be explored. It is often believed that darker the red, more fierce is the passion.
Tribal Rose Tattoo
A grand, larger-than-life design that incorporates various artistic techniques to create a design that will redefine your understanding of how a quintessential rose tattoo should look.
The abstract depiction of a big red rose that takes up almost the entire length of the thighs, is a tribute to the captivating and enthralling charisma of roses. From the old moss rose to the newest and best, the rose is never out of place in our society. On a certain date in the month of February we celebrate International Rose Day to pay tribute to the timeless beauty of love to which is also intimately and inextricably entwined the beauty of the flower as well. Thus, tattoo artists across the world never run out of inspiration when it comes to this particular flower. The tattoo in concern, for example, is an experimental take on the traditional themes which render this rose tattoo such a celestial charm, making it one of the best you will ever come across!
Tiny Rose Forearm Tattoo
A quirky but simple rose tattoo which can also be worn as a finger tattoo. The design features a tiny rosebud with a pedicle and a leaf functioning as the lips of a smiley face, with two dots for eyes.
The electric idiosyncrasy of the artwork is what makes it stand out from a traditional rose forearm tattoo. It serves little purpose besides being aesthetically pleasing which is quite understandable given the sheer minimalism of the design. A rose tattoo on the forearm is a popular choice mainly because of the amount of exposure it receives. Apart from that, many tattoo theorists across the world are of the opinion that a rose tattoo on the forearm also signifies a love that is won or lost. Since one can trace the veins right beneath the wrist portion of the forearm, it is also believed that inscribing a tattoo on that portion metaphorically alludes to the idea of inscribing right on the ‘veins’, which somewhat adds dimension to the notion of ‘permanency’ with which tattoos are inextricably linked.
Rose Shoulder Tattoo
This is a neat design without any accompanying leaves or flower motifs which features a zoomed-in replication of a classic red rose in full bloom.
This one is appropriate as a shoulder tattoo because the nuances and contours of the petals will not come to life if inked on a flat surface. The curves of the shoulder render dimension to the whole piece. Artist’s since ancient times have sought to draw parallels between the budding and blooming of a rose; and the transitory state of young womanhood and the ephemerality of love itself. Thus, the full-blown red rose is the emblem of love passionate and consumption. It epitomizes the fulfillment of a burning desire while paying tribute to the fragrant after-taste of that desire.
Simple Rose Tattoo For Back
A simple and elegant design that deconstructs the notion of associating black roses with morbidity. You can check this out if you are in the mood for something safe yet searing. It features a black outline rose tattoo filled in with solid black colour with a long pedicle. It looks best on the back as is shown in the picture for the simple reason that the vertical stem of the flower traces along the spinal cord thereby achieving an almost perfect symmetry. Anything symmetrical as we know is pleasing to the eye.
Black roses in popular culture are conceptualized as symbols of death, mourning, funeral, and farewell. The study of black roses as gothic and macabre is owing to the fact that Victorian culture associated the colour black with the deadly and the demonic which finally found its way into early Hollywood movies where the femme fatale was often shown carrying black rose(s) in person. This shaped our perception of black roses in a negative way. But if we delve deeper into the historicity of black roses we will come across facts like how in ancient Greece, the black rose symbolized power and strength. Thus, to sport, a black rose is to embrace all that is indomitable and undaunted in you.
Rose Hand Tattoo
Here is a beautiful realistic rose tattoo design radiant and vivifying! The use of white colour to highlight the artwork deserves a special mention. This rose hand tattoo manipulates the white colour to bring out the contours of the hand and wrist areas by highlighting the mounds and the slopes and the curves which render the design life-like quality. This is a big rose tattoo that features a classic neo traditional rose and plays extensively but ingenuously with the colour contrast, for example, the use of lighter and darker shades of red to portray the interplay of subtle and searing emotions which a person experiences when he or she is in love.
In Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, the young Tess adorns herself with roses, unaware that she has become a talk of the town. Hardy writes, ‘She became aware of the spectacle she presented to their surprised vision: roses at her breast; roses in her hat; roses and strawberries in her basket to the brim.’ After this she started to remove each rose one by one from her body and while doing so a thorn pricks her chin. Later on, we come to know how that instant served as a rhetorical device of ironical prolepsis. Thus, Hardy destabilizes the male gaze by showing how Tess is in control of her own body and manipulates when or how she would want to transform her body to come into the focus of the male gaze. On this note, we can also interpret rose tattoos as are means to claim agency over one’s own body thereby wrenching it away from being a spectacle.
The popularity of roses as an interpreter of love which is the most important and universal of our passions attained a cult status, especially during the Victorian Era. Roses are featured in summer bouquets and obsequies displays, ballroom decorations, and in boudoirs. Pale pink moss roses owing to their abundance of petals were declared as the ‘ambassadors of love’, a vibrant purple rose tinged with fuchsia denoted a passion tottering precariously along the brim and all it needs is a little nudge to burst forth into flames. Rose tattoos, likewise vary in design and colours and textures, and aestheticism to live up to the myriad symbolical significance of the real flower. Apart from the rose tattoo ideas provided in this list, you can also check out the following ideas:
Rose Tattoo Design On Arm
Rose Tattoo Design On Shoulder
Feature image from Pinterest – Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try “Tattoo Balm”