Robert Campin ca. 1380 – 1444

Mérode altarpiece

oil on panel (65 × 118 cm) — 1427-1432 Museum Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Robert Campin biography

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The Mérode altarpiece is a triptych by the southern Netherlandish master Robert Campin. The name Mérode belongs to the Belgian family that was the last private owner of the work before it was acquired by the Metropolitan Museum in 1956.

It is a popular triptych because of its bright translucent colours and the domestic setting in a medieval European city.

For an altarpiece it is rather small. That suggests it was not made for a church but for private use. The patron was probably the man in the left panel, the merchant Peter Ingelbrechts. The coat of arms of his family can be seen in the central panel.

Left panel: donors
Central panel: the Annunciation
Right panel: Joseph in his workshop

The altarpiece was made in Robert Campin's workshop. Campin had at least two assistants: Rogier van der Weyden and Jacques Daret. The central panel was the first. Later on the wings were added, commissioned by Ingelbrechts. After his marriage his wife was added to the left panel.

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