The Byzantine art marked a considerable progress in the development of art in the Byzantine Empire and Eastern Europe. In this regard, Andrey Rublev is one of the most renowned representatives of the Byzantine art, whose iconography became the manifestation of the Byzantine art. The Old Testament Trinity by Andrey Rublev is one of the most renowned icons created by the artist.
In fact, Andrey Rublev was a prominent figure in the development of the Byzantine art. His works became extremely popular and influenced other artists of his time. The Old Testament Trinity was the icon created in 1410-1425, when the Byzantine art has reached the high level in its development. The Old Testament Trinity was executed in the iconographic Byzantine style. The painting was created on the tempera on panel.
The painting depicts tree angles sitting next to each other around the table with a cup in the center of the table. The lines are clear and concise. In such a way, the painter increases the realism of the depiction, although the implicit message seems to be prior to the realism of the painting.
The shape of figures depicted on the painting is similar. They leaned their heads as if they are thinking of some sad and important issues. Their bodies are unclear and hidden by loose garments. Their faces are a bit sad and reflective.
The background is light yellow-green, vague and unclear. The angels wear bright clothes which steadily changes from bright blue-green on the right angel, to red-blue on the middle angel, and gold-blue on the left angel. Their body and faces are of the bronze color and they have dark hair. The golden cup on the table is filled with red liquid, probably wine. The yellow color and its shadows prevail over the painting for yellow transforms into gold and bronze.
At first glance the three angels are ordinary people. However, the halos and wings behind their backs indicate to their divine origin, their superiority over humans and difference from humans. Their faces look very similar to each other that symbolizes their unity (Sharon, Gerstel and Lauffenburger, 225). The painting depicts the Trinity – the Father, the Son, and the Spirit – and stresses their unity, since together they personify God. The painting conveys the message of the unity of the Trinity and three different manifestations of God through the image of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit (Bigham, 195). In such a way, the painter have managed to convey the unity of God through three angels, whose physical similarity implies that God just takes three different images through which He manifests Himself.
Texture of the painting is tempera. The mix of color and eggs contributes to the creation of the specific style, form and texture of the painting, making the angels more solid and realistic.
The space is distributed unequally. The three angels are in the center and foreground of the painting. The background of the painting is vague and unclear. In such a way, the painter shifts the attention of the audience to the three angels, instead of distracting the attention of viewers by some details on the background.
Thus, The Old Testament Trinity by Andrey Rublev is a remarkable manifestation of the Byzantine art, iconographic painting, which comprises the basic characteristics of the Byzantine style and uniqueness of Rublev’s style.
Bigham, Steven. Image of God the Father in Orthodox Theology and Iconography. Studies in Orthodox iconography, St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1995.
Sharon, E., J. Gerstel and Julie A. Lauffenburger, ed. A Lost Art Rediscovered. Penn State, 2001.