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Trinity Sunday, in the Carmelite Missal

Trinity Sunday, in the Carmelite Missal

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1395

Shelfmark: Additional MS 29704

Item number: f.36v

Length: 71.6

Width: 51

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

An order of monks and nuns who followed a strict ideal of abstinence, the Carmelites or 'White Friars' became prominent in England in the 13th and 14th centuries. They were well-connected with powerful supporters in the royal court. The Carmelite Missal was probably made for use at Whitefriars in London. Its beautiful decoration can be seen as an expression of the White Friars' religious intensity and highly placed patronage. At least three artists, one - Hermann Scheere - from Germany, decorated it and introduced new ways of depicting the human figure and creating illusions of space. Their work brought English manuscript art into a new phase of the 'International Style' of western European painting. The missal's early 19th-century owner allowed his children to cut it up. In the 1930s Margaret Rickert reconstructed the missal from its scraps. The remains of the hymns and prayers for Trinity Sunday feature a picture within a beginning letter. The Trinity is shown in a late medieval convention in which God the Father and the dove of the Holy Spirit (here partly obscured by Christ's halo) are shown hovering behind the crucified Christ. Below, a scene of baptism gives the ceremony's spoken evocation of the Trinity on a banner. The infant is immersed face down, according to the Sarum (Salisbury) rite.

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