The Perils and Peculiarities of Visually Depicting the Trinity

In an unusual ‘home-team’ session led by the Sacred Tradition and the Arts Seminar’s two co-convenors, our starting point will be Botticelli’s Trinity Altarpiece, which is characterised by unsettling disjunctions of scale and space.

Though these have been often explained by a high level of workshop participation and a shift in Botticelli’s style as he came under the influence of the charismatic preacher, Savonarola, new scientific investigation of the painting reveals that the impossible space occupied by the Trinity was intentional.

Scott Nethersole will argue that this calls for explanation and a reinterpretation of the painting.  Why might Botticelli have chosen to depict the Trinity in a space that the viewer cannot comprehend, at least rationally?

Ben Quash’s paper will examine some of the larger theological problems that are raised by trinitarian visual imagery, and look at what from a theological point of view seems to me to be some of the successes and failures of various artistic experiments, including one or two very recent ones.

There will be ample time for discussion and questions following the papers. The event will be concluded by an informal reception.


About the seminar series

The seminar on Sacred Traditions and the Arts is a joint venture between the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at King’s and The Courtauld. It seeks to place researchers in dialogue who are working on any aspect of the sacred and visual culture. It is open to all scholars and students who have an interest in exploring the intersections of religion and art regardless of period, geography or tradition.


This event has passed.

21 Feb 2018

The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London