UNKNOWN MASTER, Hungarian
(active around 1450)
Holy Trinityc. 1450
Wood, 64,5 x 54,5 cm
Magyar Nemzeti Galéria, Budapest
This type of representation of the Holy Trinity - the Man of Sorrows held by God the Father with the Holy Ghost in the likeness of a dove - was widely adopted in European art around 1400 when it was customary to show particular reverence for the dead Saviour. Though of unknown provenance, it is thought that the panel comes from the western border region of Hungary, and is the only known Hungarian example of this iconographic type in painting.
The earliest similar representation known to us is an example of French Burgundian art from around 1380. Pictures with half-length figures developed under the powerful influence of representations of the Pietà in which the Man of Sorrows is held by one or more angels. In respect to half-length figures, this work is similar to the Münster panel by the Master of St. Veronica (1395-1415). In the type of head adopted for the figure of God the Father there is a certain relationship with the Sankt-Lambrecht votive panel (around 1430), now in Vienna, and with the Holy Trinity in the Hungarian National Gallery. The finely tooled haloes and border adornments were very popular in Viennese painting at the beginning of the fifteenth century. They can also be seen on other panels more Austrian in style.
It is believed that this painting was once on the obverse of the right wing of a small triptych or diptych.