Cuzco School

The Enthroned Trinity by Cuzco School

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Rolled Canvas
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In regions like the central Andes, the need to differentiate the religion of the conquistadors from the diverse native gods made it necessary to avoid any confusion that the Catholic dogma of the Holy Trinity could generate. In order to instruct the indigenous population in its meaning, the old medieval expedient was adopted of representing the Holy Trinity as three identical individuals, seated and wearing crowns. In this way all reference to the animal world was avoided, so that the dove of the Holy Spirit would not be identified with any Andean deity. At the same time, the notion of three identical figures was clearly expressed, formally matched as the manifestation of a single God. This work transmits most efficiently the sense of harmony that reigns between the three expressions of the divine, seated on their respective thrones (replaced here by friars’ chairs). The scene is wrapped in the golden resplendence of an idealized space, the luminosity of which is intensified by the contrast between the white vestments and the deep carmine and gold leaf applied to the capes, scepters and crowns. The hypnotic effect of the repeated figures in that diffuse clarity seems to recreate optically the ineffable experience of the divine.