Scala / Art Resource, NY Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia
It’s the best-known icon of the Trinity, but one thing should be said immediately about this icon by Andrej Rublëv: It does not purport to directly represent the Trinity, which is, by definition, invisible and ineffable. . . .
Instead, it depicts the three angels who appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre (see Genesis 18:1-15). In that tradition, before and after Rublëv, Abraham, Sarah, the calf, and an oak tree often appear.
This episode, in fact, is read by the patristic tradition as an early prefigurement of the Trinity. The icon is one of the artistic forms that follow a spiritual reading of the Bible. It is, thus, … the Trinity in salvation history.
All the experts agree that Rublëv’s icon is the zenith of all iconographic art in terms of its power for theological synthesis, its richness of symbols, and its artistic beauty. It conveys the very rhythm of trinitarian life. Unceasing motion and superhuman stillness, transcendence and condescendence, are simultaneously represented.
Contemplating the Three. The dogma of the unity and trinity…
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