Robert Campin ca. 1380 – 1444

Merode altarpiece - Joseph

oil on panel (65 × 27 cm) — 1425-1430 Museum Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Robert Campin biography

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Right wing of the Mérode altarpiece. It shows Joseph quietly working. He is unaware of the visit the angel pays to his wife.

Campin made this triptych while he was still living in Tournai. Perhaps that is the medieval town in the background.

Some think it is no coincidence that Campin depicted Joseph producing mousetraps. From the Met's web site: "Joseph has made two mousetraps, whose meaning is elucidated by the Augustinian speculation that the Incarnation was God's means of ensnaring the devil, much as bait entraps a mouse." (Incarnation = the birth of Christ)

Please note the way the window shutters are put away. Yours truly had never before seen it done that way.

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