Sandro Botticelli, Trinity

Table of Contents:

Sandro Botticelli

Trinity (1487)

Botticelli painted this altarpiece for the “cappella maggiore,” or main chapel of Sant’Elisabetta delle Convertite, a convent for reformed prostitutes in Florence. The penitent Magdalene appears on the left, and John the Baptist holds a cross on the right. Because Mary Magdalene was regarded as the first reformed prostitute, she served as the patroness for this religious order of reformed courtesans. 

Mary Magdalene contemplates this vision of Christ’s crucifixion, encouraging viewers in Sant’Elisabetta to do the same. Scholars believe that this scene takes place in Provence, where Mary Magdalene retreated in repentance for thirty years.

Angels surround the cross upon which Christ has been crucified, which is held by God the Father. The Trinity is completed with the dove above Christ’s head, representing the Holy Spirit. 


Lightbown, Ronald. Sandro Botticelli: Life and Work (vol. 1). Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978. pg. 110-111.

Yashiro, Yukio. “A Newly Discovered Botticelli.” The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 46, no. 265 (April 1925): 156-159, 161-163, 166-167.

Musée Luxembourg. Botticelli: From Lorenzo the Magnificent to Savonarola. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2003. pg. 48.