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In images: Picturing the Blessed Trinity

HOLY TRINITY

Public Domain

Joanne McPortland - published on 05/27/18

TRINITY; LUCAS CRANACH
Public Domain|Wikipedia
Trinity, Lucas Cranach, between 1515 and 1518, Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany

In the West, especially after the Reformation, depictions of the Trinity began to distinguish among the Persons of the Trinity. The Father was identified by age, with a white beard, and by his enthronement as a king or emperor. In this depiction by Lucas Cranach, the Father holds the globe of empire and wears the triple tiara usually associated with the pope. The Son becomes personified by his incarnation in Jesus Christ – often, as here, shown on the cross. The Holy Spirit is no longer depicted in human form but as a dove, as in Scripture. The Trinity is often shown enclosed in an almond-shaped halo (mandorla), here formed by worshiping angels.

Depictions of the Trinity that emphasize the crucifixion – showing Christ crucified in the arms or lap of the imperial Father, with the dove of the Spirit hovering above – are sometimes known as The Mercy Seat.

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