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The Trinity is a painting by Andrei Rublev, considered to be one of the greatest Russian painters of Orthodox icons and frescoes, so much so that in 1551 a council of the Russian Orthodox Church established that his art was to be held as a model for ecclesiastical painting.

We have very little information about Andrei Rublev - even when and where he was born remains a mystery. All that we know for sure is that he was a monk at the Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius, 70 kilometers from Moscow, where he lived for many years between the late 1300s and the early 1400s. He then moved to Moscow, to the Andronikov Monastery of the Savior, where he died on January 29, 1430.

The Trinity is considered to be his greatest achievement, painted to celebrate the canonization of the founder of the Trinity Monastery.

The painting depicts the Holy Trinity's visit to Abraham when they promise him that he will have a son. The icon represents a scene of the three nearly identical angels sitting around a table, symbolizing the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, from left to right. But, as you can see, each angel is wearing a different color garment. The one on the left is wearing a blue outfit, the color of divinity, and a golden robe represents the kingship of God. The second angel, in the middle, wears clothing typically associated with Jesus in traditional iconography: the red symbolizes the humanity of Christ and the blue that reminds us of his divinity. The third angel, on the right, is wearing a blue robe and a green mantle, indicating the earth and the Holy Spirit’s mission of renewal. According to Orthodox tradition, green is also the liturgical color worn on Pentecost, the holy day that celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles 50 days after the Resurrection.  The angels in the middle and on the right of the composition have their heads tilted slightly to the left, to show that the Son and the Holy Spirit come from the Father.

In the background you can see Abraham’s house, an oak tree that recalls the tree of life in the Garden of Eden and the cross on which Christ died to save the world from Adam's sin.



An interesting fact: Because of the deeply spiritual nature of his works, Rublev was canonized in 1988 as a saint of the Orthodox Church.

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