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The Savior of the World

early 1460s

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

Christ stands on the banks of a river holding an orb, which indicates his role in this image as Savior of the World (Salvator Mundi). A dove, a common symbol of the Holy Spirit, hovers in front of Christ. Below the dove, a passage from Genesis is inscribed in gold: Spiritus dei ferebat(ur) super aquas (The spirit of God moved over the water). The appearance of Christ as Savior of the World, the presence of the dove, and the text from Genesis imply that the existence of the Trinity and the promise of salvation were inherent from the beginning of the world. The image appropriately accompanies the beginning of the Hours of the Holy Spirit. In this manuscript, a large illumination prefaces each of the eight sets of prayers, indicating that the patron had a special reverence for the Holy Spirit.

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