The painting “Bratification” (Altar Merode), Robert Kampen – description

The painting “Bratification” (Altar Merode), Robert Kampen – description
The painting "Bratification" (Altar Merode), Robert Kampen - description - 1

  • Posted by Robert Campen
  • Museum: Metropolitan Museum
  • Year: Around 1427-1432

Description of the picture :

Annunciation (Altar Merode) – Robert Kampen. Wood, butter. The central panel is 64.1×63.2, the side is 64.5×27.3

   “Altar Merode”, named so by the name of the family that had long owned it, was first attributed to Rogir van der Weiden, then to the master from Flemal, who was later identified with Robert Campen.

   The work shows the features of late Middle Ages art – bright colors, some image convention and partly flattened space, but it already belongs to the Renaissance: divine characters, although separated from people, but placed next to them, and Virgin Mary, the archangel Gabriel and Joseph look no less realistic, than donators in the left sash. But most importantly, with small triptych sizes, it gives the impression of a large one. It feels a majestic spirit that has distinguished paintings by Renaissance masters.

The painting "Bratification" (Altar Merode), Robert Kampen - description - 2

   The triptych is full of details that are remarkable in themselves: forged candlesticks, the patterned belt of the archangel, and behind the opened window, in the space of the city landscape, there are people, and not only on the street, but also in the shop, where silhouettes are guessed in dark doorways.

   Numerous details are therefore written out so carefully that most of them are endowed with special meaning. For example, white lilies in a jug symbolize the purity of the Virgin Mary, the open book on the table – her wisdom, the man-moman – the waters of Baptism, the candle – the light that Christ brings to the world. The mousetraps on the table and outside the window, set by Joseph, refer to the words of blessed Augustine that “the cross of the Lord is a mousetrap for the devil.”.

   If you carefully look at the altar, you can see how a tiny figure of the baby Christ carrying the cross flies from the round window on the left. This small triptych summarizes the whole New Testament story.