The Merode Altarpiece, a piece by artist Robert Campin, is a representation of the Annunciation of Christ. The piece was originally painted in Flanders during the Early Renaissance period in 1425. It is a considerably small altarpiece, commissioned for a private residence, created with oil on wood panel. The piece is currently held in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The scene depicted in this particular altarpiece is very popular among artists during the Renaissance and the detailed representation captured by Robert Campin made it one of his most famous works of art.
The subjects depicted in the piece are the Virgin Mary, an angel, Joseph, and also the donors who commissioned the painting. The main subject is very obviously the Virgin Mary. The scene in the center panel shows the angel who has come to tell Mary that she will bear the Christ child. In the right panel Joseph is shown in his workshop and the patrons of the altarpiece are shown to be just outside the home of Mary and Joseph in the left panel. It was a popular practice for patrons to be depicted within the religious scene that they commissioned so they could actively imagine their presence during the event.
The composition of the piece can be seen as very dynamic. The main focus of the painting, the Virgin Mary, draws the viewer’s eye immediately to the center of the piece, then it seems to follow her robes to the angel and up around the table in between them, following the light and the curved lines of the hearth over to the right panel where Joseph is shown. Then it seems that the eye is drawn outside of the piece over to subjects in the left panel, who are almost disconnected from the rest of the piece. They are shown outside the door to the home, which seems to separate them even more from the other subjects of the painting.
The use of color and contrast also seems to illuminate the focus on the Virgin Mary and the angel in the center panel. Campin uses...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document