Trinity (188 x 165 mm)
France, Paris (?) c. 1500
BRILLIANT COLORS ILLUMINATE THIS LARGE PAINTING FROM A PARISIAN CHOIR BOOK
This grand initial B likely prefaced the Introit to the Mass on Trinity Sunday, Benedicta sit sancta Trinitas (Blessed is the Holy Trinity). From a monumental Choirbook, the brightly colored illumination is impressive in scale, the faint diagonal crease on its surface detracting little from its overall excellent condition. Our illumination illustrates the subject of the Trinity as it was first depicted in French and Italian art of the twelfth century. Matthew (28:19), then Saint Augustine in De Trinitade, expressed the doctrine that God is of one nature yet three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Here, God the Father is enthroned and portrayed as an old, white-bearded man, who rests his feet on the terrestrial globe. He holds the lateral beam of the cross on which Christ, his Son, appears. To the right is the dove, symbol of the Holy Ghost.