Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Trinity with the Dead Christ

Title: The Trinity with the Dead Christ

Artist: Ludovico Carracci

Medium: Oil on canvas

Size: 173 x 127 cm

Date: c. 1590

Location: Pinacoteca, Vatican.

According to the Trinity doctrine, God exists as three persons, or hypostases, but is one single divine nature. Some faiths profess that, in addition, the second person of the Trinity — God the Son — assumed human nature as Jesus, so that he has two natures (and hence two wills), and is really and fully both true God and true human. As stated in the Chalcedonian Creed: “truly God and truly man, of a rational soul and body”.

In this painting Lodovico managed to express the transcendent in terms of great intimacy and sincere humanity, qualities that were to be indispensable in the formation of artists such as the young Guercino. The subject, very unusual at the time of the Counter-Reformation, goes back to a purely medieval iconographic idea. Instead of the traditional, hierarchical representation of the Trinity, Lodovico combines this theme with a scene of the Pieta, in which Christ is received into the Father's arms rather than those of the Virgin.

Ludovico (or Lodovico) Carracci (April 1555 – November 1619) was an Italian, early-Baroque painter, etcher, and printmaker born in Bologna. The Carracci was a family of Bolognese painters, the brothers Agostino (1557-1602) and Annibale (1560-1609) were cousins of Lodovico, and were prominent figures at the end of the 16th century in the movement against the prevailing Mannerist artificiality of Italian painting. Lodovico was by temperament a fairly shy person who never found real success, unlike his cousin Annibale. Lodovico left Bologna only for brief periods and directed the Carracci academy by himself after his cousins left for Rome. His work, at its best, is highly personal and has a passionate and poetic quality.

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