Skip to main content

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, The Heavenly and Earthly Trinities

Key facts
Full title The Heavenly and Earthly Trinities ('The Pedroso Murillo')
Artist Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
Artist dates 1617 - 1682
Date made about 1675-82
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 293 × 207 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1837
Inventory number NG13
Location Room 30
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Heavenly and Earthly Trinities
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

This painting illustrates the belief that Christ was both human and divine: the embodiment of the ‘Two Trinities’. At the centre of the composition the Christ Child forms part of the Heavenly Trinity with the dove of the Holy Ghost and God the Father above, and part of the Earthly Trinity with his human parents, Mary and Joseph.

The scene is not based on a particular biblical event, though a story in the Gospel of Luke echoes its theme. Aged 12, Christ disappeared after a trip to Jerusalem; he was eventually found in the Temple debating with religious scholars. When confronted by his anxious parents Christ spoke simply of his divine mission.

Mary gazes lovingly at her son. Joseph looks towards us, inviting us to adore Christ, who stands on a sharp-edged rock. This is possibly intended to symbolise an altar or may refer to biblical descriptions of Christ as the ‘cornerstone’ upon which God’s household would be built.

Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

License this image

License and download a high-resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low-resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Download low-resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo