Art Notes: The Mercy Seat Trinity

Authored by Dr. Lionel Gracey in Issue #33.1 of The Sower

The English College in Rome, now universally known as the Venerabile (‘venerable’ because of its age and because of the number of martyrs that went from there to their death in England), dates from 1579. The altarpiece for the main altar, which is the subject of these art notes, was painted by Durante Alberti in 1580 and is generally called the Martyrs picture. It is a ‘Mercy Seat Trinity’, a representation of the Trinity that became increasingly popular in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and is a good example of how fine art can enhance catechesis on the liturgy.

The Mercy Seat was originally commanded of Moses by God (Exodus 25:17-22) and placed above the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark and the Mercy Seat were carried by the Israelites throughout their forty-year sojourn in the desert. When Israel settled in the Promised Land, and Solomon’s Temple was built in Jerusalem, the Ark and the Mercy Seat were placed in the Holy of Holies in the Temple.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact sower@maryvale.ac.uk

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor's Reflections: Adult Faith Formation and Culture Change
By Dr. James Pauley
Free This year marks the twentieth anniversary of one of the most important publications the U.S. Bishops have ever written: Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us . The ideals and principles expressed in this document are deeply convicting and can be summed up with these stirring words: “adult faith formation is essential to who we are and what we do as... Read more
From the Shepherds: Catechesis in the Light of the Papal Magisterium of Pope Francis Evangelii gaudium - An Access to the Church’s Mission
By Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst
Free Looking back on the past and on the development of the church since the Second Vatican Council, there are two well-known and profound documents, which have brought the biblical call for evangelization into our pastoral consciousness: Evangelii nuntiandi in 1974 and Evangelii gaudium in 2013. Both apostolic letters have reflected on the manner in... Read more
Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us: A Reflection on Discipleship
By Peter J. Murphy
Do you feel the Holy Spirit working? Do you sense that deeper calling, that desire for renewal, that burning within your heart? Yes, it is the same burning that the disciples on the road to Emmaus felt as their Lord and Savior journeyed with them. Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us was written twenty years ago as a prophetic and challenging... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now