Sunday, June 3, 2012

Trinity Pietà

Title: Trinity Pietà
Artist: Master of Sankt Laurenz
Medium: Oil on oak panel
Size: 23 x 16 cm
Date: 1415-30
Location: Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne.

Trinity Sunday, a moveable feast also known as Holy Trinity Sunday, is celebrated a week after Pentecost Sunday in honor of the most fundamental of Catholic beliefs - belief in the Holy Trinity. As expressed in the Athanasian creed (ascribed to Saint Athanasius, c. 296-373), “There is, therefore, one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits; and in this Trinity there is nothing first or later, nothing greater or less, but all three Persons are coeternal and coequal with one another, so that in every respect, as has already been said above, both unity in Trinity, and Trinity in unity must be venerated.”

The Man of Sorrows in the arms of God the Father with the Holy Ghost between them both is often termed a Trinity Pietà. The depiction is more common in French and Burgundian court painting from the end of the fourteenth century onwards. In this example, the Man of Sorrows is flanked by four angels, with two of them holding the Flagellation column, the scourge, the stick with the sponge and the lance. The panel is attributed to the Master of Sankt Laurenz (St Lawrence), the pupil of the Cologne Master of St Veronica. It is also assumed that this small panel was the left wing of a diptych having, on the right, a Mater Dolorosa.

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