Imagining the Unimaginable: The Iconography of the Trinity in England, c. 1000-1300

Kelly, Sophie (2019) Imagining the Unimaginable: The Iconography of the Trinity in England, c. 1000-1300. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

PDF (SKelly, Vol I, Imagining the Unimaginable) - Publisher pdf
Restricted to Repository staff only until March 2022.

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Contact us about this Publication Download (3MB)
[img]
PDF (SKelly, Vol II, Imagining the Unimaginable) - Publisher pdf
Restricted to Repository staff only until March 2022.

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Contact us about this Publication Download (405MB)
[img]

Abstract

This thesis explores the ways in which medieval artists visualised the Trinity. It seeks to understand how an 'unimaginable' and paradoxical idea - that God is one being and yet three, Father, Son and Holy Spirit - was depicted in visual form. The study focuses primarily on English visual culture from c. 1000-1300, where the two most common representations of the Trinity, the Seated Trinity and the Gnadenstuhl, developed. It offers new perspectives on the eleventh- and twelfth-century contexts in which these influential Trinitarian images appeared, tracing their transmission across many types of media, from manuscript illumination to wall paintings, stained glass, metalwork and sculpture in stone, ivory and wood. It shows how, at the turn of the thirteenth century, the Seated Trinity and the Gnadenstuhl evolved from images known and used in relatively limited circles to the two most common representations of the Trinity. This process is contextualised within the broader shifts in theology and debate during this period, where both Trinitarian ideas and images underwent momentous and radical changes. This thesis also examines how the standardisation and proliferation of the iconography of the Seated Trinity and Gnadenstuhl over the course of the thirteenth century paved the way for new and exciting visualisations of the Trinitarian God. Whether adapting and manipulating conventional iconography, or crafting an image that departed radically from these more standardised forms, artists working in this period turned to increasingly inventive and unusual designs as a means of communicating something new about the triune nature of God. Both the invention of 'conventional' images of the Trinity and the re-invention of these standardised forms in the production of 'unusual' Trinitarian images demonstrate the remarkably imaginative, inventive and innovative nature of artistic and visual culture in this period.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Guerry, Emily
Thesis advisor: Bovey, Alixe
Uncontrolled keywords: Art History, History, Medieval Art History, Medieval History, Medieval Theology, Medieval Culture, Trinity
Subjects: D History General and Old World
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: Daniel Bartlett
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2019 13:08 UTC
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2019 09:43 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/73607 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year