30 x 30 in. (76.2 x 76.2 cm)
(1703 - 1766)
Medium and Support:
Oil on canvas
Marion Stratton Gould Fund
Location: Currently on view
“The Holy Trinity,” the concept that there are three Persons in the unity of God, is the central doctrine of the Christian religion. Although these three Persons—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit—are distinct from each other, the Christian faith holds that there are not three gods but one. In Christian art, three elements represent the Trinity. The image of an older patriarch refers to God the Father; God the Son, or Christ, is usually shown either crucified on a cross or, as in this painting, after his death; and the Holy Spirit appears as a dove in flight.
During the Counter-Reformation, images of the Trinity emphasized the physical nature of Christ by focusing on his suffering and death. Like other dramatic works of Counter-Reformation art, the intent was to evoke an emotional response from the faithful that would lead to increased devotion.
This painting is one of several variations of Giaquinto’s Dead Christ with the Trinity (1741-1742), a fresco he painted in the apse of S. Giovanni Calibita in Rome.