The Old Testament Trinity

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reference number: RI_156

19th century

tempera on wooden panel

74.5 x 51 cm

A large traditionally painted nineteenth-century icon of The Old Testament Trinity. The subject, also known as The Hospitality of Abraham, is based on a passage from the Book of Genesis – the story of Abraham visited by angels at the Oak of Mamre (18:1-15). In Christian tradition, this episode is regarded as a revelation of the Holy Trinity, where the angels represent the three persons of God.


The icon portrays three angels sitting around a table, flanked by standing figures of Abraham and Sarah. Behind them are a stylised architectural setting (Abraham’s house) and a rocky landscape (Mount Moriah). In the middle of the composition rises a tree (the Oak of Mamre). The subject is identified by a calligraphic inscription in Church Slavonic on the upper border. 

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