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Hans Baldung Grien, The Trinity and Mystic Pietà

Key facts
Full title The Trinity and Mystic Pietà
Artist Hans Baldung Grien
Artist dates 1484/5 - 1545
Date made 1512
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 112.3 × 89.1 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bought, 1894
Inventory number NG1427
Location Room 25
Collection Main Collection
The Trinity and Mystic Pietà
Hans Baldung Grien

The Virgin Mary and Saint John the Evangelist stand in Christ’s red marble tomb supporting his lifeless body. He is partially covered by a burial shroud, but the spear wound on his side is visible. The Virgin mourns her son, wiping her eyes with her veil. John the Evangelist places his hand to his breast, an agonised expression on his face. All three members of the Trinity are present: behind Christ is God the Father; above him is the dove that represents the Holy Ghost. In the background, dense grey storm clouds have parted to reveal a yellow-gold sky.

The small figures in front of the tomb are probably the painting’s patrons. One figure raises his right hand and looks up towards Christ, creating a connection between the patrons and the holy figures. The two coats of arms on either side identify the donors: the one to the left is probably that of the Bettschold family of Strasbourg, while the other may belong to the Rothschild family.

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