The J. Paul Getty Museum

Initial B: The Trinity

Object Details


Initial B: The Trinity


Taddeo Crivelli (Italian, died about 1479, active about 1451 - 1479)




Ferrara, Italy (Place Created)


about 1460–1470


Tempera and gold

Object Number:

Ms. 88 (2005.2), recto


Leaf: 16 × 16 cm (6 5/16 × 6 5/16 in.)

See more

See less

Object Description

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.

Masterpieces in Miniature: Italian Manuscript Illumination from the J. Paul Getty Museum (September 25, 2005 to January 2, 2006)
  • National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), September 25, 2005 to January 2, 2006
Cosmè Tura e Francesco del Cossa: L'arte a Ferrara nell'età di Borso d'Este (September 23, 2007 to January 6, 2008)
  • Palazzo dei Diamanti (Ferrara), September 23, 2007 to January 6, 2008
Rare Finds: Ten Years of Collecting Manuscripts (February 12 to April 20, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), February 12 to April 20, 2008
Renaissance Splendors of the Northern Italian Courts (March 31 to June 21, 2015)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 31 to June 21, 2015
Things Unseen: Vision, Belief, and Experience in Medieval Manuscripts (July 12 to September 25, 2016)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), July 12 to September 25, 2016