Cuzco School

Double Trinity with Saint Augustine and Saint Catherine of Siena by Cuzco School

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Rolled Canvas
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This scene has been identified by the art historian Francisco Stastny as the reunion of Jesus and his parents after the sermon of the child in the temple. Its composition is based almost literally on a composition by Peter Paul Rubens engraved by Schelte á Bolswert. Still troubled by the the boy’s earlier disappearance, Mary and Joseph hold Jesus carefully. An imaginary line joins the faces of all three figures, forming an inverted triangle at the center of the painting, which is mirrored by another that ends in the figure of the Eternal Father; at the very center of the meeting between these two triangles the image of the Holy Spirit is inscribed. This compositional device –copied from the original Flemish design– equates the Holy Trinity with the Holy Family, interpreted as the earthly Trinity. At the foot of the scene, the Cusco master has depicted Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Augustine, no doubt at the request of the person who commissioned the work. In spite of the chromatic subtleties in the handling of the flesh tones and the cloudscape, the sensation of depth has been annulled by the complex gold arabesques applied to the clothing.