Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, known as Il Guercino
(Cento 1591 – Bologna 1666)

The Trinity

Oil on canvas, 154 x 262 cm (60.6 x 103.5 inches)


One hand rests on the globe, as a father would rest a hand on his son’s head in a pose for a photograph, and the other bony hand holds a golden sceptre. But the gaze is fixed on a point lost in space, unaware even of the call of the figure sitting next to him, who seems to demand attention with his right hand on his chest. In the middle there is a paloma blanca («just a bird in the sky»), motionless in its gliding flight. The Divine Trinity is seated on the clouds over our heads. It was thus that the young Guercino had also imagined it (around 1616), placed beyond a chapel door or atop an altarpiece, contracting the figures’ volumes to allow for a lowered viewpoint.