Mérode Triptych

Mérode Triptych

Artist Robert Campin and workshop

Date ca. 1425-30

Movement Northern Renaissance

Medium Oil on oak

Dimensions 25.25 x 2.875” (central panel); 25.367 x 10.875″ (each wing)

Housed at Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Cloisters Collection


While earlier depictions of the Annunciation occur against Heavenly backdrops, here, it takes place in a common home; this stems from a contemporary theme of making biblical teaching more relevant and accessible. Garments have considerable weight and brilliant hues—Mary’s attire attracts the most attention with a vivid red hue, a turn from the royal blue with which she is usually portrayed. Symbolic devices are laden throughout—the lily symbolizing Mary’s purity, the wine press being made by Joseph as a precursor to the Holy Eucharist of Christ’s blood, the extinguished candle, with its earthly light snuffed by the Heavenly light that has entered the room (a very small Christ flies towards Mary from one of the windows), and a coat of arms from another window, symbolizing the patron’s family—two members of which appear in the left panel.