Art for Trinity Sunday

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Today is Trinity Sunday. It is the Sunday following Pentecost, observed in the Western Christian Church as a feast in honor of the Holy Trinity. On this day, the church ponders and celebrates the salvific work of the all three members of the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Watch this Seven Minute Seminary by Matt O’Reilly as he explains the significance of the doctrine of the Trinity. Watch this Seven Minute Seminary video by Lester Ruth explaining why Christians worship the Trinity. Read this catechism resource by Timothy Tennent answering, “What is the Trinity?”

Click through the thumbnails below to view complete images.


Allegory of the Holy Trinity. This painting fuses three faces into one. It is a medieval fresco in Perugia, Italy. This kind of depiction is unconventional and is held to be controversial among some Christian groups, as its theological implications are suspect. Picture by Giovanni Dall’Orto, August 5, 2006 (Creative Commons license).

1280px-Angelsatmamre-trinity-rublev-1410Three Angels (Old Testament Trinity) by Andrei Rubylev (ca. 1420). Because of an Eastern reluctance to represent the Father in artwork, they often portrayed Christ in his stead. Here are two angels visiting Abraham, as a depiction to help people visualize the trinity, in place of representing the godhead. The Byzantine style of painting was kept alive well after the collapse of the empire. This painting stands out because of its vivid colors and spiritual power.

Book of Hours - Medieval devotional book BLRoyal2BXVFol055vAllStsBook of Hours. In this Book of Hours, a medieval form of devotional book, the Trinity is depicted at the coronation of the Virgin Mary. All three members of the Trinity are seen giving the sign of blessing. This kind of trinitarian depiction was more common in books like these during the medieval times.

Baroque_Hendrick_van_balen_Holy_trinityBaroque Trinity, Hendrick van Balen (1620). This heavenly scene of the Trinity is in the Baroque style, a high realism approach to art which emphasizes details and intricate work. Notice the many cherubs, likely reflecting a complex angelology which makes perfect sense during the baroque period.

Peter_Paul_Rubens_-_Holy_TrinityThe Trinity at the Death of Christ, Peter Paul Rubens (ca 1600). This work is also in the high realism style and evokes a lot of emotion and wonder. It is easy to notice the grief of the Father. The Holy Spirit, though in the shadows, is depicted in the form of a dove. The angels surrounding the Trinity are also filled with grief and can be seen crying.

4021897929_ff32079df1_zTrinity in a Taiwanese-Chinese Catholic Church. Here is a Chinese depiction of the Trinity. Depicted is the Son holding a lamb, the Holy Spirit holding a dove, and the Father holding what might be a globe. Surrounding the Trinity are the clouds of witnesses, or saints, including Adam and Eve in their fig leaves (image source).

trinity-chinaChinese Trinity. In this painting the Trinity is depicted enthroned, though centered around an upright cross. Children or angels are seen around the thrones. The Holy Spirit, not pictured here, is depicted as a dove ascending above the Father and Son.



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