Seeming to emerge from the background and float in front of it, the Trinity shown in this illumination has an assertive presence. Crivelli created a visually dynamic painting by contrasting the manner of representation in the main figural group with that of the background. In contrast to the sculptural clarity of the Trinity, the golden angels' heads in the background are painted in such a manner that they are partially formed out of the expanse of blue and red space, making them spatially ambiguous and ethereal. The Trinity represents the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three persons in one Godhead according to Catholic belief. The Trinity is shown here as God the Father holding the Crucified Christ with the dove representing the Holy Spirit between the two. This initial probably comes from a choir book that contained the sung portions of the Mass, where it introduced a text used on Trinity Sunday.


  • Title: Initial B: The Trinity
  • Creator: Taddeo Crivelli
  • Date Created: about 1460 - 1470
  • Location Created: Ferrara, Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: Leaf: 16 × 16 cm (6 5/16 × 6 5/16 in.)
  • Type: Detached leaf
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Tempera and gold on parchment
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 2005.2.recto
  • Culture: Italian
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. 88, recto
  • Creator Display Name: Taddeo Crivelli (Italian, died about 1479, active about 1451 - 1479)
  • Classification: Manuscripts (Documents)

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