SF-1010 Old Testament Holy Trinity Russian Icon Gold Silver Foil on Thick Wood 8 1/4"

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SF-1010
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ICON HISTORY -

The Old Testament Trinity – The Hospitality of Abraham – Abraham and Sarah’s Hospitality base on the Book of Genesis

This icon was “written” (painted) in the 15 th Century by the master iconographer St Andrei Rublev. The icon is perhaps the best known of Russian icons, it is full of theological symbolism and is considered the height of Russian art. The original icon, now housed in the Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow), was created in honor of St Sergius of Radonezh for the Trinity Lavra (large monastery) in Sergiyev Posad near Moscow.

Please note there are volumes written about and interpretations of this icon – below Is one of them.

The icon depicts the three angels (seated at a table in a circle) that visited Abraham and Sarah at the Oak of Mamre (Genesis 18:1-8). It is thought to represent the Holy Trinity. Theologically, the Holy Trinity embodies the spiritual unity of God – of peace, harmony, mutual love and humility. The angels are pictured in silent contemplation.

On the table is a cup with the head of a calf prefiguring the crucifixion and Eucharist. Behind the angels are a house (Abraham’s home) a tree (the Oak of Mamre) and a mountain (Mount Moriah).

Each angel represents a person of the Holy Trinity. The coloration of their garments suggests their role – brown and earth tones on the Father figure suggests the creation of the earth/world - dark red on the central figure the blood of Christ and green of the ever present Holy Spirit as the giver of new life and protector of our environment. Blue and gold highlights on each angel represents their divinity.

The angel to the left represents God the Father blessing the cup on the table while at the same time gesturing to the middle angel representing Jesus Christ the Son of God. The gesturing suggests the “cup” Christ suffered by his acceptance of the crucifixion. Behind the angel of God the Father is Abraham’s house – representing God the Father as “creator.” The brown tones /suggests the creation of the earth.

The central figure represents Jesus Christ the Son of God. The wings of the figures representing the Father and the Son touch each other.

The tree represents the “tree of life” and the wood on which Christ died and sign of His resurrection.

The figure to the right represents God the Holy Spirit - the ever present creator and protector. Mount Moriah in back signifies the place of sacrifice of Isaac – of Christ in Jerusalem and the Church.

This his angel represents Holy Spirit’s role in the renewal and “new life” of the church and the world. An interesting note is the wings of the angel representing the Holy Spirit do not touch the wings of the other two angels – yet the unity of the Trinity remains.

Of interest may another version of the Old Testament Trinity with Abraham and Sarah and their reception of the Three Angels can be seen in Alexandra’s Collection of Russian icons SF-9.

This icon was printed and Made in Russia.


Copyright ALEXANDRA INTERNATIONAL. 2020