I don’t know about any of you readers, but my family always celebrates Good Friday by not using electronics and trying to focus on God from the hours of 12-3; the times Christ hung on the cross and darkness covered the earth. Not every Christian celebrates this way, but my mom’s family did and it carried on to us.
So the image I wanted to focus on today is The Holy Trinity by Masacio. I did a report on this painting so it is a favorite of mine. Masacio is the first painter to use the rules of perspective in his works. His friend Brunelleschi was the one who came up with it and shared his ideas with Masacio. Masacio structures the fresco with the viewer in mind, making sure that the perspective was drawn according to the relation of how one would look up toward it. Masacio also styled his painting so that it would resemble a side chapel, he studied the rest of the church and made the barrel vaults and coffers look just like the ones in the real church.
Like Leonardo, Masacio used the number three and triangles a lot. As the painting itself was about the Holy Trinity, God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit (3), creating a whole painting out of trianges and threes connected the physical and spiritual realms. First the painting is divided into three squares; the top of the image to about Christ’s mid-chest, from mid-chest to the groundline that the donors who cominissioned the painting (on the far right and far left) rest upon, and from that groundline to the bottom of the image. Many triangles are made throughiut the image but the most significant being God and the two donors, Jesus, Mary (in purple) and John the Beloved ( in a pinky hue), and Jesus and the two donors.
Masaccio recognized that using this method would not only improve the composition of his image but it would also make the spiritual tone stronger. There is a scripture in the Bible, in John 14:6, that says “No one gets through the Father except through me” and the use of pyramidal composition with the ascending line from Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, and to the Father alludes to this passage.
At the bottom is a skeleton and tombstone; a reminder that soon you will be dead, and should consider where you want to end up.
“They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means ‘the place of the skull’). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.”–Mark 15: 21-23
“Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed…one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”–Luke 23: 32-34
“Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.” Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.” …Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he lovedstanding nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”–John 19: 19-27
“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”–Luke 23: 39-43
“At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)… Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink.”–Mark 15: 33-36
“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”–John 19: 30
“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open…When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”–Matthew 27:51-54
“So as evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body…Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.”–Mark 15: 42-46
“The chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.”–Matthew 27:62-66