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The Trinity


This is a deeply-carved late 16th-century Flemish walnut panel of The Trinity: the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.  Christ, holding the cross, sits at the right hand of God, who is richly robed and holding a sceptre in one hand, the other raised in blessing; the dove of the Holy Ghost hovers above.  Both God and Christ have one foot resting on a terrestrial globe, which is supported by angels.

This subject does not appear in early medieval art as the Church was reluctant to depict God in human form.  The idea of the Trinity was sometimes shown as a triangle, while God appeared just as an eye or as a hand emerging from a cloud.  The dogma of the Trinity is central to Christian theology and asserts that One God exists in Three Persons, beyond the power of reason to explain or demonstrate.  God the Father as a man does not appear in art until the very end of the 13th century in Italy.