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The TrinityAn Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Trinity$
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Stephen T. Davis, Daniel Kendall SJ, and Gerald O'Collins SJ

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199246120

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199246122.001.0001

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The Trinity in Art

The Trinity in Art

(p.329) 13 The Trinity in Art
The Trinity

David Brown (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

David Brown identifies three main types of approaches to artistic representations of the Trinity: triadic, societal, and incarnational forms. In each case, he stresses the need to judge art in relation to the wider contemporary context. Triadic repetition is seen to have deep roots in paganism and in Neo‐Platonist assumptions at the time of the Renaissance, as well as being characteristic of today's art. Its function as an image of intensifying power is noted. Societal representations are distinguished from any automatic endorsement of a social analogy for trinitarian doctrine, and this is so in the case of Murillo's Two Trinities. Summary dismissal of incarnational types is shown to be often based on misunderstandings of what it is that the relevant artists were trying to achieve. Masaccio, for instance, deliberately placed the Father outside our spatial frame. In general, Brown appeals for art to be judged by its own distinctive criteria.

Keywords:   artistic representation, Brown, distinctive criteria, incarnational, Masaccio, Murillo, Neo‐Platonist, paganism, Renaissance, societal, spatial frame, triadic, Two Trinities, wider contemporary context

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