The J. Paul Getty Museum

The Holy Trinity Enthroned

Object Details


The Holy Trinity Enthroned


Master of James IV of Scotland (Flemish, before 1465 - about 1541)




Ghent, Belgium; Bruges, Belgium (Place Created)


about 1510–1520


Tempera colors, gold, and ink on parchment

Object Number:

Ms. Ludwig IX 18 (83.ML.114), fol. 10v


Leaf: 23.2 × 16.7 cm (9 1/8 × 6 9/16 in.)

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Object Description

The Master of James IV of Scotland visualized the complex Christian doctrine of the Trinity as three crowned figures seated on a throne that hovers in a glowing heavenly light. Each of the three figures is distinct from the waist up but they share one robe, signifying the Christian belief that the Trinity consists of three persons and one substance. In the ethereal space around the throne, transparent angels sing sanctus (Holy). During Church services in the hymn of adoration, sanctus is sung three times, once for each person of the Trinity.

The artist delighted in plays of illusionism. The image's painted frame resembles a carved wooden frame of an altarpiece, suggesting an analogy between an altarpiece and the book. Three lines of text are written on an illusionistically painted slip of parchment, "pinned" to the page of the book to make it appear like a separate piece of parchment. A rubric in red identifies the following text as the prayer for Matins of the Hours of the Holy Trinity, to be read on Sunday. The text, in black ink, begins with a line from Psalm 50: Domine labia mea aperies (Lord, open my lips).

Masterpieces of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscript illumination (December 16, 1997 to March 22, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 16, 1997 to March 22, 1998
Landscape in the Renaissance (August 1 to October 15, 2006)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), August 1 to October 15, 2006