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Mérode Altarpiece

15th-century painting by the workshop of Robert Campin / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Mérode Altarpiece[upper-alpha 1] (or Annunciation Triptych) is an oil on oak panel triptych, now in The Cloisters, in New York City. It is unsigned and undated, but attributed to Early Netherlandish painter Robert Campin and an assistant.[upper-alpha 2] The three panels represent, from left to right, the donors kneeling in prayer in a garden, the moment of the Annunciation to Mary, which is set in a contemporary, domestic setting, and Saint Joseph, a carpenter with the tools of his trade. The many elements of religious symbolism include the lily and fountain (symbolising the purity of Mary), and the Holy Spirit represented by the rays of light coming through from the central panel's left hand window.

Robert Campin and workshop, Mérode Altarpiece. Dimensions: overall (when open), 25 3/8 × 46 3/8 in.; central panel, 25 1/4 × 24 7/8 in.; each wing, 25 3/8 × 10 3/4 in.
The Annunciation. The Musée des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, version of the central panel, at one time attributed to Jacques Daret, a pupil of Campin's. This panel was painted earlier than the New York version, and may be the original.[1]

The central panel was completed after 1422, likely between 1425 and 1428,[upper-alpha 3] it is thought by a member of Campin's workshop. An earlier version, now in Brussels, may be Campin's original panel. The outer wing panels are later additions by a workshop member, probably on request by the donor who sought to elevate the central panel to a triptych and place himself in the pictorial space. They contain views of the city of Liège, in today's Belgium.

The triptych is a founding and important work in the then emerging late Gothic, Early Netherlandish style, and has been described as a "milestone between two periods; it at once summarizes the medieval tradition and lays the foundation for the development of modern painting".[2]