Choices and Intentions in the Mérode Altarpiece

Since technical research revealed that the center panel of the Mérode Altarpiece is based on an Annunciation in Brussels and that the wings were added at a later stage, the painting has lost its status as a key work in both the oeuvre of the Master of Flémalle and the history of painting. Analysis of artistic and iconographic elements of the Mérode Annunciation in comparison to the Brussels Annunciation, however, shows that the image should not be considered a less important work than its model but a product of choices and intentions aiming to optimize its function as a visual accompaniment of a personal prayer practice. Compositional and iconographic discrepancies between the wings and the center panel suggest that the work was transformed into an altarpiece with a specific devotional intention.

DOI: 10.5092/jhna.2022.14.1.2

Acknowledgements

I am very grateful to Larry Silver for his editing of an earlier draft of this text and for his criticism and suggestions. Many thanks also to Maryan Ainsworth, Jacques Boogaart, Stephan Kemperdick, Hans Locher, and an anonymous peer reviewer for their comments, and to the editors of JHNA for taking so much care with my publication. Henk van Os has my gratitude for introducing me, long ago, into the world of Annunciations, with his dissertation on the Virgin’s humility and glorification in Sienese art, which was a joy to reread when I was working on this article.

Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, ca. 1427–32, oil on oak panel, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Fig. 1 Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, ca. 1430, oil on oak panel, center panel, 64.1 x 63.2 cm; each wing, 64.5 x 27.3 cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Cloisters Collection, inv. 56.70a–c (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 2 Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece (fig. 1), center panel, Annunciation [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 3 Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece (fig. 1), right wing, Saint Joseph in His Workshop [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 4 Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece (fig. 1),  left wing, The Donor and His Wife [side-by-side viewer]
Robert Campin (?), Annunciation, ca. 1425–30, oil on oak panel, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels
Fig. 5 Robert Campin (?), Annunciation, ca. 1425–30, oil on oak panel, 61 x 63.7 cm. Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels, inv. 3937 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 2a Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, center panel, Annunciation (fig. 2) [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 5a Robert Campin (?), Annunciation, Brussels (fig. 5) [side-by-side viewer]
Follower of Robert Campin, Annunciation, 1420–1425, oil on oak panel. Museo del Prado, Madrid
Fig. 6 Follower of Robert Campin, Annunciation, ca. 1430, oil on oak panel, 76.4 x 70 cm. Museo del Prado, Madrid, inv. P001915 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Follower of Robert Campin, The Virgin and Child before a Firescreen, ca. 1440, oil with egg tempera on oak panel, The National Gallery, London
Fig. 7 Follower of Robert Campin, The Virgin and Child before a Firescreen, ca. 1440, oil with egg tempera on oak panel with walnut additions, 63.4 x 48.5 cm. The National Gallery, London, inv. NG2609 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 2b Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, center panel, Annunciation (fig. 2) [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 5b Robert Campin (?), Annunciation, Brussels (fig. 5) [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 2c Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, center panel, Annunciation (fig. 2) [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 5c Robert Campin (?), Annunciation, Brussels (fig. 5) [side-by-side viewer]
Master of the Harvard Hannibal, Annunciation, ca. 1415-20, parchment, Musée national du Moyen Age, Paris
Fig. 8 Master of the Harvard Hannibal, Annunciation, ca. 1415-20, Book of Hours, parchment, 18.9 x 13.5 cm. Musée national du Moyen Âge, Thermes de Cluny, Paris, inv. Cl. 1252, fol. 27 (photo © RMN-Grand Palais (musée de Cluny – musée national du Moyen Âge) / Jean-Gilles Berizzi) [side-by-side viewer]
Melchior Broederlam, Crucifixion Altarpiece, left exterior wing, Annunciation, 1399, oil and tempera on oak panel, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon
Fig. 9 Melchior Broederlam, Crucifixion Altarpiece, left exterior wing, Annunciation and Visitation, 1399, oil and tempera on oak panel, 166.5 x 125 cm. Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon, inv. 1420 (Image via Wikimedia Commons) [side-by-side viewer]
http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/470304
Fig. 10 Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, center panel, Annunciation (fig. 2), detail of rays of light and Christ Child [side-by-side viewer]
Jan van Eyck, Annunciation, ca. 1434–36, oil on canvas transferred to panel, National Gallery of Art, Washington
Fig. 11 Jan van Eyck, Annunciation, ca. 1434–36, oil on panel, transferred to canvas, 90.2 x 34.1 cm.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, Andrew W. Mellon Collection, inv. 1937.1.39 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/470304
Fig. 12 Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, center panel, Annunciation (fig. 2), detail of the Virgin [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 1a Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece (fig. 1) [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 13 Robert Campin (?), Annunciation (fig. 5), Brussels, detail of candleholder [side-by-side viewer]
http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/470304
Fig. 14 Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, center panel, Annunciation (fig. 2), detail of candleholder [side-by-side viewer]
Workshop of Robert Campin (Jacques Daret ?), The Virgin and Child in an Interior, before 1432, oil on oak panel, The National Gallery, London
Fig. 15 Workshop of Robert Campin (Jacques Daret ?), The Virgin and Child in an Interior, before 1432, oil on oak panel, 22.5 x 15.4 cm (including the original frame). The National Gallery, London, inv. NG6514 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Hans Memling, Annunciation, ca. 1465–70, oil on oak panel, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Fig. 16 Hans Memling, Annunciation, ca. 1465–70, oil on oak panel, 186.1 x 114.9 cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of J. Pierpoint Morgan, inv. 17.190.7 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Hans Memling, Annunciation with Angels, ca. 1480–89, oil on panel transferred to canvas, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Fig. 17 Hans Memling, Annunciation with Angels, ca. 1480–89, oil on panel, transferred to canvas, 76.5 x 54.6 cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Robert Lehman Collection, inv. 1975.1.113 [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 18 Robert Campin (?), Annunciation (fig. 5), Brussels, detail of candleholders over fireplace [side-by-side viewer]
http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/470304
Fig. 19 Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, center panel, Annunciation (fig. 2), detail of candleholders over fireplace [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 20 Robert Campin (?), Annunciation (fig. 5), Brussels, detail of objects on the table [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 21 Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, center panel, Annunciation (fig. 2), detail of objects on the table [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 4a Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, left wing, The Donor and His Wife (fig. 4) [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 3a Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, right wing, Saint Joseph in His Workshop (fig. 3) [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 22 Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, right wing, Saint Joseph in His Workshop (fig. 3), detail of mousetraps [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 4b Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, left wing, The Donor and His Wife (fig. 4) [side-by-side viewer]
  1. 1. Hugo von Tschudi, “Der Meister von Flémalle,” Jahrbuch der königlich Preussischen Kunstsammlungen 19 (1898): 8–34, 89–116.

  2. 2. Georges Hulin de Loo, “An Authentic Work by Jacques Daret, painted in 1434,” The Burlington Magazine 15 (1909): 202–8; Georges Hulin de Loo, “Jacques Daret’s Nativity of Our Lord,” The Burlington Magazine 19 (1911): 218–25. 

  3. 3. Emile Renders, with Jos. De Smet and Louis Beyaert-Carlier, La solution du problème Van der Weyden−Flémalle−Campin (Bruges: Charles Beyaert, 1931). 

  4. 4. Max J. Friedländer, Rogier van der Weyden and the Master of Flémalle, ed. Nicole Veronee-Verhaegen, trans. Heinz Norden, Early Netherlandish Painting 2 (Leyden: Sijthoff; Brussels: Éditions de la Connaissance, 1967), 38. For Friedländer’s views on the identification of the Master of Flémalle and his contacts with Renders on this question, see Suzanne A. M. Laemers, “Max J. Friedländer, 1867–1958: Kunst en kennerschap, een leven gewijd aan de vroege Nederlandse schilderkunst” (PhD diss., University of Utrecht, 2017), 251–81.

  5. 5. In the English edition, this supplement is included in Friedländer’s volume on Rogier van der Weyden and the Master of Flémalle: Friedländer, Rogier van der Weyden, 53–56.

  6. 6. Friedländer, Rogier van der Weyden, 38.

  7. 7. Erwin Panofsky, Early Netherlandish Painting: Its Origins and Character, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1953), 166–67.

  8. 8. H. Die, “Original und nicht Kopie,” Die Weltkunst 25 (1955): 11–12. 

  9. 9. Cyriel Stroo and Pascale Syfer-d’Olne, The Flemish Primitives 1: The Master of Flémalle and Rogier van der Weyden Groups. Catalogue of Early Netherlandish Painting in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium (Brussels: Brepols, 1996), 41.

  10. 10. Theodore Rousseau Jr, “The Merode Altarpiece,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 16 (1957–58): 117.

  11. 11. Rousseau, “Merode Altarpiece,” 122.

  12. 12. William Suhr, “The Restoration of the Merode Altarpiece,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 16 (1957–58): 143.

  13. 13. Rousseau, “Merode Altarpiece,” 125-126; Suhr, “Restoration of the Merode Altarpiece,” 144.

  14. 14. H. Th. Musper, Altniederländische Malerei von Van Eyck bis Bosch (Cologne: DuMont Schauberg, 1968), 62.

  15. 15. Lorne Campbell, “Robert Campin, the Master of Flémalle and the Master of Mérode,” The Burlington Magazine 116 (1974): 643–45.

  16. 16. Jeltje Dijkstra, “Origineel en kopie: Een onderzoek naar de navolging van de Meester van Flémalle en Rogier van der Weyden” (PhD diss., University of Amsterdam, 1990), 164–69; J. R. J. van Asperen de Boer, J. Dijkstra, and R. Van Schoute, with C. M. A. Dalderup and J. P. Filedt Kok, “Underdrawing in Paintings of the Rogier van der Weyden and Master of Flémalle Groups,” Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 41 (1990; published 1992): 108–16.

  17. 17. Stephan Kemperdick, Meister von Flémalle: Die Werkstatt Robert Campins und Rogier van der Weyden (Turnhout: Brepols, 1997), 79–84.

  18. 18. Peter Klein, “Dendrochronological Findings in Panels of the Campin Group,” in Susan Foister and Susie Nash, eds., Robert Campin: New Directions in Scholarship (Turnhout: Brepols, 1996), 79, figs. 5, 80, 84.

  19. 19. Kemperdick, Meister von Flémalle, 84–85; Maryan W. Ainsworth and Keith Christiansen, eds., From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Abrams, 1998), 92; Stephan Kemperdick and Jochen Sander, eds., Der Meister von Flémalle und Rogier van der Weyden, exh. cat. (Frankfurt am Main: Städel Museum; Berlin: Gemäldegalerie, 2008), 198. Dijkstra, “Origineel en kopie,” 173–75, also assumes that the Brussels Annunciation never had wings, but she suggests that it could have been part of a series of scenes in an altarpiece destined for a Westphalian church. This is contradicted, however, by Stroo and Syfer-d’Olne, Flemish Primitives 1, 46, because of the different traditions of altarpieces in Westphalia and the Netherlands. Moreover, whereas the composition of the Brussels Annunciation was followed in a number of images, no influences of other—lost—scenes from such a hypothetical altarpiece have been detected. 

  20. 20. Kemperdick, Meister von Flémalle, 88, 91. 

  21. 21. Kemperdick, Meister von Flémalle, 85. 

  22. 22. For a critical discussion of these identifications, see Kemperdick, Meister von Flémalle, 85–88. 

  23. 23. In the form depicted here, with a chain, this coat of arms occurs on the seal of Peter Engelbrecht that is attached to a document from 1443; Felix Thürlemann, Robert Campin, das Mérode-Tryptichon: Ein Hochzeitsbild für Peter Engelbrecht und Gretchen Schrinmechers aus Köln (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 1997), 83n47.

  24. 24. Mojmír S. Frinta, “The Authorship of the Merode Triptych,” The Art Quarterly 31 (1968): 247–65; Kemperdick, Meister von Flémalle, 94–99.

  25. 25. Kemperdick, Meister von Flémalle, 159–64. See also Stephan Kemperdick and Jochen Sander, “Der Meister von Flémalle, Robert Campin und Rogier van der Weyden: Ein Resümee,” in Kemperdick and Sander, Meister von Flémalle, 149–59. 

  26. 26. Friedländer, Rogier van der Weyden, 35.

  27. 27. “Annunciation Triptych (Merode Altarpiece), ca. 1427–32, Workshop of Robert Campin,” Metropolitan Museum of Art website, accessed March 10, 2022, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/470304.

  28. 28. Rousseau, “Merode Altarpiece,” 122–23.

  29. 29. For chemise bindings, see Margit J. Smith, The Medieval Girdle Book (New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2017), 5–7.

  30. 30. As suggested for both the Brussels and the Mérode Annunciation by Kemperdick, Meister von Flémalle, 85. See also “Annunciation Triptych (Merode Altarpiece).”

  31. 31. Dijkstra, “Origineel en kopie,” 173; Kemperdick, Meister von Flémalle, 82–83.

  32. 32. Henk van Os, Marias Demut und Verherrlichung in der Sienesischen Malerei 1300–1450, Kunsthistorische Studien van het Nederlands Historisch Instituut te Rome 1 (’s Gravenhage: Staatsuitgeverij, 1969), 101–6; Beth Williamson, “Site, Seeing and Salvation in Fourteenth-Century Avignon,” Art History 30 (2007): 1–25.

  33. 33. Stroo and Syfer-d’Olne, Flemish Primitives 1, 44.

  34. 34. Van Os, Marias Demut, 47, 107–8, 112–13, 117, 119.

  35. 35. Elisabeth Taburet-Delahaye, ed., Paris 1400: Les arts sous Charles VI, exh. cat. (Paris: Musée du Louvre, 2004), 288–89.

  36. 36. Van Os, Marias Demut, 79–100.

  37. 37. Isa Ragusa and Rosalie B. Green, trans., Meditations on the Life of Christ: An Illustrated Manuscript of the Fourteenth Century (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1961), 17.

  38. 38. Van Os, Marias Demut, 42–43.

  39. 39. Ragusa and Green, Meditations, 19.

  40. 40. This has been observed by Kemperdick, Meister von Flémalle, 84. The capital A in the book on the table is emphasized by the arrangement of the chemise and one of the leather strips of the primary cover that serve to keep the book closed. The capital D in this book may allude to “Dominus tecum,” but it is not clear why it precedes the A of “Ave.”

  41. 41. Ragusa and Green, Meditations, 19.

  42. 42. See Millard Meiss, Painting in Florence and Siena after the Black Death: The Arts, Religion, and Society in the Mid-Fourteenth Century (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1951), 153–54, on the combination of the Madonna of Humility with the Apocalyptic Woman: “The Virgin is Regina coeli as well as Nostra domina de humilitate, and thus ‘Regina humilitatis.’’’

  43. 43. Mojmír S. Frinta, The Genius of Robert Campin (The Hague: Mouton, 1966), 20–21.

  44. 44. Kemperdick, Meister von Flémalle, 104, also sees the change of the eyes as proof that the Prado Virgin is based on the Mérode Virgin, but, in Kemperdick and Sander, Meister von Flémalle, 232, he no longer considers this a decisive argument.

  45. 45. This is an allusion to Sixten Ringbom, Icon to Narrative: The Rise of the Dramatic Close-up in Fifteenth-Century Devotional Painting, 2nd ed. (Doornspijk: Davaco, 1984).

  46. 46. See H. W. Janson, Form Follows FunctionOr Does It?: Modernist Design Theory and the History of Art (Maarssen: Schwartz, 1982).

  47. 47. Klaus Schreiner, “Marienverehrung, Lesekultur, Schriftlichkeit: Bildungs- und frömmigkeitsgeschichtliche Studien zur Auslegung und Darstellung von ‘Mariä Verkündigung,’” Frühmittelalterliche Studien: Jahrbuch des Instituts für Frühmittelalterforschung der Universität Münster 24 (1990): 315.

  48. 48. Klaus Schreiner, “‘. . . wie Maria geleicht einem puch’: Beiträge zur Buchmetaphorik des hohen und späten Mittelalters,” in Archiv für Geschichte des Buchwesens 11 (1970–71): 1453.

  49. 49. David M. Robb, “The Iconography of the Annunciation in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries,” The Art Bulletin 18 (1936): 523–26; Ernst Guldan, “‘Et verbum caro factum est’: Die Darstellung der Inkarnation Christi im Verkündigungsbild,” Römische Quartalschrift für christliche Altertumskunde und Kirchengeschichte 63 (1968): 145–69. In fifteenth-century Italy, the motif was disapproved of by San Antonino, archbishop of Florence. See Michael Baxandall, Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy, (London: Oxford University Press, 1976), 43.

  50. 50. Millard Meiss, “Light as Form and Symbol in Some Fifteenth‑Century Paintings,” The Art Bulletin 27 (1945): 175–81.

  51. 51. Meiss, “Light as Form,” 176.

  52. 52. Lorne Campbell, National Gallery Catalogues: The Fifteenth-Century Netherlandish Schools (London: National Gallery Publications, 1998), 92–99.

  53. 53. Such a connection is also supposed in Carol Purtle, “The Iconography of Campin’s Madonnas in Interiors: A Search for Common Ground,” in Foister and Nash, Robert Campin, 176, 181n11, and in Felix Thürlemann, Robert Campin: Eine Monographie mit Werkkatalog (Munich: Prestel 2002), 96.

  54. 54. Kemperdick and Sander, Meister von Flémalle, 232.

  55. 55. For the text of this prayer see “Ave moeder van genaden,” Middelnederlandse Berijmde Gebeden: Teksten, Handschriften, Devoties (blog), accessed March 10, 2022, https://berijmdegebeden.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/ave-moeder-van-genaden. See also Johannes B. Oosterman, De gratie van het gebed: Middelnederlandse berijmde gebeden: overlevering en functie, met bijzondere aandacht voor produktie en receptie in Brugge (1380–1450) (Amsterdam: Prometheus 1995), 1:139–42, 2:233.

  56. 56. For an interpretation of the Virgin in the Mérode Annunciation as the “Mystical Rose,” see Reindert Falkenburg, “The Household of the Soul: Conformity in the Merode Triptych,” in Maryan W. Ainsworth, ed., Early Netherlandish Painting at the Crossroads: A Critical Look at Current Methodologies; The Metropolitan Museum of Art Symposia (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Yale University Press, 2001), 10–11.

  57. 57. Contradicting Gottlieb’s view that the liturgical niche in the Mérode Annunciation labels the room as a sanctuary, Harbison points out that such niches also existed in fifteenth-century houses. See Carla Gottlieb, “Respiciens per Fenestras: The Symbolism of the Mérode Altarpiece,” Oud Holland 85 (1970): 65–67; Craig Harbison, “Realism and Symbolism in Early Flemish Painting,” The Art Bulletin 66 (1984): 591n18.

  58. 58. Panofsky, Early Netherlandish Painting, 137, 143. 

  59. 59. See William S. Heckscher, “The Annunciation of the Mérode Altarpiece: An Iconographic Study,” in Miscellanea Jozef Duverger: Bijdragen tot de Kunstgeschiedenis der Nederlanden 1 (Ghent: Society for the History of Textile Arts, 1968), 37–65; Cynthia Hahn, “‘Joseph Will Perfect, Mary Enlighten and Jesus Save Thee’: The Holy Family as Marriage Model in the Mérode Triptych,” The Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 54–66.

  60. 60. A great number of interpretations are mentioned in Albert Châtelet, Robert Campin, De Meester van Flémalle (Antwerpen: Mercatorfonds, 1997), 292–93. For an essay on the study of disguised symbolism in the Mérode Altarpiece, see Bastian Eclercy, “Von Mausefallen und Ofenschirmen: Zum Problem des ‘Disguised Symbolism’ bei den frühen Niederländern,” in Kemperdick and Sander, Meister von Flémalle, 133–47. For an essay on the study of disguised symbolism in early Netherlandish painting, see Craig Harbison, “Iconography and Iconology,” in Bernhard Ridderbos, Anne van Buren, and Henk van Veen, eds., Early Netherlandish Paintings: Rediscovery, Reception and Research (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press; Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2005), 378–406.

  61. 61. Especially because of the realistic character of the bench in the Annunciation, with its reversible back, Josef de Coo has contested the symbolic meanings of objects in the Mérode Altarpiece. See Jozef De Coo, “A Medieval Look at the Mérode Annunciation,” Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 44 (1981): 114–32; Jozef De Coo, “Robert Campin: Weitere Vernachlässigte Aspekte,” Wiener Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte 44 (1991): 79–105, 97–100. General criticism on the idea of disguised symbolism in early Netherlandish painting has been expressed by James H. Marrow, “Symbol and Meaning in Northern European Art of the Late Middle Ages and the Early Renaissance,” Simiolus 16 (1986): 150–69. See also Craig Harbison, “Response to James Marrow,” Simiolus 16 (1986): 170–71.

  62. 62. Panofsky, Early Netherlandish Painting, 143.

  63. 63. Minott has argued that the Mérode candle is not really extinguished and refers to Isaiah 42, according to which God’s servant, i.e. Christ, shall not quench the smoking flax. Besides the fact that this is incompatible with the candle in the Brussels panel, there is no suggestion at all that the spark of the Mérode candle is going to burn again. See Charles Ilsley Minott, “The Theme of the Mérode Altarpiece,” The Art Bulletin 51 (1969): 270. Snyder suggests that the candle is a marriage candle, “to be snuffed out at the consummation of the marriage,” and that it alludes here to “the moment when the first marriage of the Virgin to God is fulfilled.” The idea that such a candle was snuffed out is not supported by textual or iconographic evidence. See James Snyder, Northern Renaissance Art: Painting, Sculpture, the Graphic Arts from 1350 to 1575, rev. ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2005), 114. Because the smoke of the candle curls to the left, Heckscher assumes that the candle has been extinguished by the Virgin when pronouncing the words “Ecce Ancilla Domini.” His interpretation is based only on the underdrawing, in which the Virgin seems to look in the direction of the angel. See Heckscher, “The Annunciation,” 55–57, 59–60, 62–64. Neilsen Blum opines that the Holy Spirit has snuffed out the candle; the same idea is put forward by Châtelet, Robert Campin, 99, who supposes that the Holy Spirit, just like at Pentecost, is present in the form of a stream of air, and by Thürlemann, who refers to the Legenda Aurea, in which it is said in the Chapter on the Nativity that “the Virgin begot her Son not from human seed but from a mystic breath.” See Shirley Neilsen Blum, Early Netherlandish Triptychs: A Study in Patronage (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969), 9; Châtelet, Robert Campin, 99; Thürlemann, Robert Campin, das Mérode-Triptychon, 33, 81, note 33; Thürlemann, Robert Campin: Eine Monographie, 70, 220n100. For the Legenda Aurea, see Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints, trans. William Granger Ryan (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993), 1:39.

  64. 64. Campbell, National Gallery Catalogues, 83–91.

  65. 65. For a different view on this candle, see Catherine Reynolds, “Reality and Image: Interpreting Three Paintings of the Virgin and Child in an Interior Associated with Campin,” in Foister and Nash, Robert Campin, 190.

  66. 66. “The Annunciation, ca. 1465–70, Hans Memling,” Metropolitan Museum of Art website, accessed March 10, 2022, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/437490.

  67. 67. “The Annunciation, 1480–89, Hans Memling,” Metropolitan Museum of Art website, accessed March 10, 2022, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/459055.

  68. 68. For this woodcut as an allusion to the Virgin, see Stroo and Syfer-d’Olne, Flemish Primitives 1, 46.

  69. 69. Steinberg associates the Christ Child caressing the Virgin in this panel with the Bridegroom and Bride from the Song of Songs, and the touching of his penis with the Circumcision. See Leo Steinberg, The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance Art and in Modern Oblivion, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 257–59. According to Urbach, both gestures can be related to the Circumcision, since the Christ Child could be comforting his mother at the occasion of this event, as described in the Meditationes Vitae Christi; this idea is further developed by Purtle. See Susan Urbach, “On the Iconography of Campin’s Virgin and Child in an Interior: The Child Jesus Comforting His Mother after the Circumcision,” in Maurice Smeyers and Bert Cardon, eds., Flanders in a European Perspective: Manuscript Illumination around 1400 in Flanders and Abroad; Proceedings of the International Colloquium, Leuven, 7–10 September 1993 (Leuven: Peeters, 1995), 557–68; Purtle, “The Iconography,” 178–79. The interpretation proposed by Urbach and Purtle does not seem very probable to me; when, according to the Meditationes, at the Circumcision Christ’s flesh was cut with a stone knife, both the Christ Child and the Virgin were crying and consoling each other, but in the painting there is no reference to the action of the Circumcision by means of a knife, and mother and son are not weeping; see Ragusa and Green, Meditations, 43–44. Urbach, “On the Iconography,” 560, incorrectly writes that, according to Ragusa and Green, the phrase “His flesh was cut with a stone knife by His Mother” is missing in the Latin original, but their remark only concerns the words “by His Mother”; Ragusa and Green, Meditations, 394n21. For similar criticism on the supposed relationship between the caressing and the Circumcision, see Steinberg, The Sexuality of Christ, 280; Reynolds, “Reality and Image,” 194n61; Campbell, National Gallery Catalogues, 86. Accepting Steinberg’s association of the Daret panel with the Bridegroom and Bride, Reynolds, “Reality and Image,” 189–90, supposes that the Christ Child touching his penis indicates sexual awareness. Such an interpretation of this gesture seems to me too down to earth, not to say too vulgar, for a union between the Virgin and Child inspired by the Song of Songs.

  70. 70. For the exposure of Christ’s genitals in medieval and Renaissance art as a sign of the Incarnation, Steinberg’s The Sexuality of Christ is the pioneering study. For this motif in The Virgin and Child before a Firescreen, see David Bomford, Lorne Campbell, Ashok Roy, and Raymond White, “The Virgin and Child Before a Firescreen: History, Examination and Treatment,” in Foister and Nash, Robert Campin, 43–44, 45. For this motif in the Flémallesque Madonna with Saints, in Washington, see Urbach, “On the Iconography,” 563.

  71. 71. Reynolds, “Reality and Image,” 194n61, points out that this motif was already known in the West before the icon of Notre Dame de Grâces arrived in Cambrai in 1440. For the influence of Byzantine icons on early Netherlandish art, see Maryan W. Ainsworth, “À la facon grèce”: The Encounter of Northern Renaissance Artists with Byzantine Icons,” in Helen C. Evans, ed., Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261–1557), exh. cat. (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art; New Haven, London: Yale University Press, 2004), 545–55.

  72. 72. Purtle, “The Iconography,” 177, 181n18.

  73. 73. For the theme of the bathing of the Christ Child, see Urbach, “On the Iconography,” 557–59; for a reference to the February miniature by the Limbourg brothers, see, in the same article, 559, and Campbell, National Gallery Catalogues, 91n4.

  74. 74. The similarity of the rails in The Virgin and Child in an Interior and Saint Barbara is noted by Urbach and by Campbell, who, in his entry on the first panel, also reproduces The Virgin and Child by a Fireplace, where the rail is attached to the wall in a different way. See Urbach, “On the Iconography,” 559; Campbell, National Gallery Catalogues, 86, 87, figs. 6, 7.

  75. 75. Ragusa and Green, Meditations, 16.

  76. 76. Ainsworth connects the book pages, smoking candle, and scroll in the Mérode Annunciation with both the angel and the descending Christ Child. Acres, on the other hand, emphasizes that the direction of the smoke does not correspond with the landing of the angel but, as argued by Heckscher, with Mary’s breath when she speaks the words “Ecce Ancilla Domini”; the Virgin, however, is not speaking at all. See Ainsworth and Christiansen, From Van Eyck, 90; Alfred Acres, Renaissance Invention and the Haunted Infancy (London, Turnhout: Miller, 2013), 199. For Heckscher, see note 63.

  77. 77. Previously observed by Kemperdick, Meister von Flémalle, 83.

  78. 78. For this bench, see De Coo, “A Medieval Look.”

  79. 79. Ellen Callman, “Campin’s Maiolica Pitcher,” The Art Bulletin 64 (1982): 629–31. De Bruin’s suggestion that the inscription contains an anagram, which he deciphers on doubtful grounds as “du Kampyn” and therefore considers as a “crypto-signature” of Robert Campin, is completely unconvincing; the name of this master is not known in such a way. See T. L. de Bruin, “Le Maitre de Flémalle et sa crypto-signature,” Gazette des Beaux-Arts 67 (1966): 5–6.

  80. 80. With thanks to Larry Silver for this suggestion. For the use of Greek and Hebrew letters in fifteenth-century Netherlandish paintings, see Susan Frances Jones, “Jan van Eyck’s Greek, Hebrew and Trilingual Inscriptions,” in Christina Currie et al., eds., Van Eyck Studies: Papers Presented at the Eighteenth Symposium for the Study of Underdrawing and Technology in Painting, Brussels, 19–21 September 2012 (Paris: Peeters, 2017), 291–308.

  81. 81. This is argued by Callmann, “Campin’s Maiolica Pitcher,” 631, because a model drawing would not have included both views of the pitcher.

  82. 82. Margaret M. B. Freeman, “The Iconography of the Merode Altarpiece,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 16 (1957–58): 132; “Jug, ca. 1480–1500, Italian, Florence or environs (probably Montelupo),” Metropolitan Museum of Art website, accessed March 10, 2022, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/204524.

  83. 83. See also Falkenburg, “Household of the Soul,” 8–11. 

  84. 84. Anne Winston-Allen, Stories of the Rose: The Making of the Rosary in the Middle Ages (University Park: Pensylvania State University Press, 1997), 100–3.

  85. 85. For this question in relation to portrait diptychs, see Susy Nash, Northern Renaissance Art (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 284; Bernhard Ridderbos, Schilderkunst in de Bourgondische Nederlanden (Leuven: Davidsfonds; Zwolle: W Books 2014), 270–71.

  86. 86. Otto Pächt, “Künstlerische Originalität und ikonographische Erneuerung,” in Stil und Überlieferung in der Kunst des Abendlandes: Akten des 21. Internationalen Kongresses für Kunstgeschichte in Bonn 1964, vol. 3, Theorien und Probleme (Berlin: Mann, 1967), 266–67.

  87. 87. Pächt, “Künstlerische Originalität,” 268; Hahn, “Joseph Will Perfect,” 56.

  88. 88. Meyer Schapiro, ‘“Muscipula Diaboli’: The Symbolism of the Mérode Altarpiece,” The Art Bulletin 27 (1945): 182–87. 

  89. 89. Schapiro, “Muscipula Diaboli,” 185.

  90. 90. Johan Huizinga, Autumntide of the Middle Ages: A Study of Forms of Life and Thought of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries in France and the Low Countries, trans. Diane Webb, ed. Graeme Small and Anton van der Lem (Leiden: Leiden University Press, 2020), 508n1. Huizinga added his remark about the symbolism of the mousetrap in a note in the fourth edition of Herfsttij der Middeleeuwen, from 1935, but since his book had already been translated into English in 1924, this was not noticed by Schapiro. Only sixty years after the publication of Schapiro’s article was it pointed out that Huizinga had been earlier in detecting the meaning of the motif. See Wessel Krul, “Realisme, Renaissance en nationalisme: Cultuurhistorische opvattingen over de Oudnederlandse schilderkunst tussen 1860 en 1920,” in Bernhard Ridderbos and Henk van Veen, eds., “Om iets te weten van de oude meesters”: De Vlaamse Primitieven—herontdekking, waardering en onderzoek (Heerlen: Open University; Nijmegen: SUN, 1995), 280; Thürlemann, Robert Campin, das Mérode-Triptychon, 79n13; Wessel Krul, “Realism, Renaissance and Nationalism,” in Ridderbos, Van Buren, and Van Veen, Early Netherlandish Paintings, 289.

  91. 91. Schapiro, “Muscipula Diaboli,” 182.

  92. 92. Minott, “Theme of the Mérode Altarpiece,” 267–68.

  93. 93. Minott, “Theme of the Mérode Altarpiece,” 267.

  94. 94. Minott, “Theme of the Mérode Altarpiece,” 268; Bruce D. Chilton, The Isaiah Targum: Introduction, Translation, Apparatus and Notes (Wilmington, DE: Glazier, 1987), 25.

  95. 95. “For the most part of the Middle Ages the study of Aramaic (and Hebrew) was effectively the domain of isolated intellectuals”; Judith Olszowy-Schlanger, “The Study of the Aramaic Targum by Christians in Medieval France and England,” in Alberdina Houtman, Eveline van Staalduine-Sulman, and Hans-Martin Kirn, eds., A Jewish Targum in a Christian World (Leiden: Brill 2014), 237. See also, in the same volume, Stephen G. Burnett, “The Targum in Christian Scholarship to 1800,” 250–53.

  96. 96. This opinion is not generally shared: “Ein extremes Beispiel für eine ad absurdum geführte Anwendung des ‘disguised symbolism’ ist etwa der Aufsatz von Charles Minott, der sämtliche Werkzeuge mit weit hergeholten theologischen Bedeutungen belegt.” See Eclercy, “Von Mausefallen,” 144.

  97. 97. For the foot stove, see Panofsky, Early Netherlandish Painting, 164. For the spike-block, see Freeman, “Iconography of the Merode Altarpiece,” 138; Charles de Tolnay, “L’autel Mérode du Maître de Flémalle,” Gazette des Beaux-Arts 53 (1959): 75; Malcolm Russell, “The Woodworker and the Redemption: The Right Shutter of the Merode Triptych,” Simiolus 39 (2017): 344–45, 348–49. For the baitbox, see Meyer Schapiro, “A Note on the Mérode Altarpiece,” The Art Bulletin 41 (1959): 327–28. For the mousetrap, see Irwin L. Zupnick, “The Mystery of the Mérode Mousetrap,” The Burlington Magazine 118 (1966): 130. For the firescreen, see Heckscher, “Annunciation of the Mérode Altarpiece,” 48; Daniel Arasse, “A propos de l’article de Meyer Schapiro, Muscipula Diaboli: Le ‘réseau figuratif’ du rétable de Mérode,” in Symboles de la Renaissance, 2nd ed. (Paris: Presses de l’École normale supérieure, 1980), 47–51; Hahn, “Joseph Will Perfect,” 60–61. For the rod holder of Mary’s suitors, see Minott, “Theme of the Mérode Altarpiece,” 268n14. For the winepress strainer, see Marilyn Aronberg Lavin, “The Mystic Winepress in the Mérode Altarpiece,” in Irving Lavin and John Plummer, eds., Studies in Late Medieval and Renaissance Painting in Honor of Millard Meiss (New York: New York University Press, 1977), 297–301.

  98. 98. Russell, “Woodworker and the Redemption.” This was earlier suggested by Tolnay, “L’autel Mérode,” 75.

  99. 99. For the chopping knife, the bowl, and the arrangement of the tools, see Russell, “Woodworker and the Redemption,” 341, 342. Contrary to the description in John 19:32, Russell supposes that the breaking of the legs took place before the death of the thiefs.

  100. 100. De Coo, “Medieval Look,” 128–29; De Coo, “Robert Campin,” 93–97.

  101. 101. Since the woodcut of Saint Christopher in the Brussels Annunciation seems to refer to the Virgin as bearer of the Christ Child, Kemperdick, Meister von Flémalle, 85, supposes that the pendant alludes to a wish for children.

  102. 102. Helmut Nickel, “The Man beside the Gate,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 24 (1965–66): 237–44.

  103. 103. For a symbolic interpretation of the depicted door and the door opening that is visible in the Annunciation, see Lynn F. Jacobs, Opening Doors: The Early Netherlandish Triptych Reinterpreted (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2012), 50–51.

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List of Illustrations

Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, ca. 1427–32, oil on oak panel, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Fig. 1 Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, ca. 1430, oil on oak panel, center panel, 64.1 x 63.2 cm; each wing, 64.5 x 27.3 cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Cloisters Collection, inv. 56.70a–c (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 2 Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece (fig. 1), center panel, Annunciation [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 3 Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece (fig. 1), right wing, Saint Joseph in His Workshop [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 4 Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece (fig. 1),  left wing, The Donor and His Wife [side-by-side viewer]
Robert Campin (?), Annunciation, ca. 1425–30, oil on oak panel, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels
Fig. 5 Robert Campin (?), Annunciation, ca. 1425–30, oil on oak panel, 61 x 63.7 cm. Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels, inv. 3937 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 2a Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, center panel, Annunciation (fig. 2) [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 5a Robert Campin (?), Annunciation, Brussels (fig. 5) [side-by-side viewer]
Follower of Robert Campin, Annunciation, 1420–1425, oil on oak panel. Museo del Prado, Madrid
Fig. 6 Follower of Robert Campin, Annunciation, ca. 1430, oil on oak panel, 76.4 x 70 cm. Museo del Prado, Madrid, inv. P001915 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Follower of Robert Campin, The Virgin and Child before a Firescreen, ca. 1440, oil with egg tempera on oak panel, The National Gallery, London
Fig. 7 Follower of Robert Campin, The Virgin and Child before a Firescreen, ca. 1440, oil with egg tempera on oak panel with walnut additions, 63.4 x 48.5 cm. The National Gallery, London, inv. NG2609 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 2b Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, center panel, Annunciation (fig. 2) [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 5b Robert Campin (?), Annunciation, Brussels (fig. 5) [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 2c Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, center panel, Annunciation (fig. 2) [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 5c Robert Campin (?), Annunciation, Brussels (fig. 5) [side-by-side viewer]
Master of the Harvard Hannibal, Annunciation, ca. 1415-20, parchment, Musée national du Moyen Age, Paris
Fig. 8 Master of the Harvard Hannibal, Annunciation, ca. 1415-20, Book of Hours, parchment, 18.9 x 13.5 cm. Musée national du Moyen Âge, Thermes de Cluny, Paris, inv. Cl. 1252, fol. 27 (photo © RMN-Grand Palais (musée de Cluny – musée national du Moyen Âge) / Jean-Gilles Berizzi) [side-by-side viewer]
Melchior Broederlam, Crucifixion Altarpiece, left exterior wing, Annunciation, 1399, oil and tempera on oak panel, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon
Fig. 9 Melchior Broederlam, Crucifixion Altarpiece, left exterior wing, Annunciation and Visitation, 1399, oil and tempera on oak panel, 166.5 x 125 cm. Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon, inv. 1420 (Image via Wikimedia Commons) [side-by-side viewer]
http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/470304
Fig. 10 Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, center panel, Annunciation (fig. 2), detail of rays of light and Christ Child [side-by-side viewer]
Jan van Eyck, Annunciation, ca. 1434–36, oil on canvas transferred to panel, National Gallery of Art, Washington
Fig. 11 Jan van Eyck, Annunciation, ca. 1434–36, oil on panel, transferred to canvas, 90.2 x 34.1 cm.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, Andrew W. Mellon Collection, inv. 1937.1.39 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/470304
Fig. 12 Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, center panel, Annunciation (fig. 2), detail of the Virgin [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 1a Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece (fig. 1) [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 13 Robert Campin (?), Annunciation (fig. 5), Brussels, detail of candleholder [side-by-side viewer]
http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/470304
Fig. 14 Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, center panel, Annunciation (fig. 2), detail of candleholder [side-by-side viewer]
Workshop of Robert Campin (Jacques Daret ?), The Virgin and Child in an Interior, before 1432, oil on oak panel, The National Gallery, London
Fig. 15 Workshop of Robert Campin (Jacques Daret ?), The Virgin and Child in an Interior, before 1432, oil on oak panel, 22.5 x 15.4 cm (including the original frame). The National Gallery, London, inv. NG6514 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Hans Memling, Annunciation, ca. 1465–70, oil on oak panel, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Fig. 16 Hans Memling, Annunciation, ca. 1465–70, oil on oak panel, 186.1 x 114.9 cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of J. Pierpoint Morgan, inv. 17.190.7 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Hans Memling, Annunciation with Angels, ca. 1480–89, oil on panel transferred to canvas, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Fig. 17 Hans Memling, Annunciation with Angels, ca. 1480–89, oil on panel, transferred to canvas, 76.5 x 54.6 cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Robert Lehman Collection, inv. 1975.1.113 [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 18 Robert Campin (?), Annunciation (fig. 5), Brussels, detail of candleholders over fireplace [side-by-side viewer]
http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/470304
Fig. 19 Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, center panel, Annunciation (fig. 2), detail of candleholders over fireplace [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 20 Robert Campin (?), Annunciation (fig. 5), Brussels, detail of objects on the table [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 21 Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, center panel, Annunciation (fig. 2), detail of objects on the table [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 4a Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, left wing, The Donor and His Wife (fig. 4) [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 3a Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, right wing, Saint Joseph in His Workshop (fig. 3) [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 22 Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, right wing, Saint Joseph in His Workshop (fig. 3), detail of mousetraps [side-by-side viewer]
Fig. 4b Workshop of Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, left wing, The Donor and His Wife (fig. 4) [side-by-side viewer]

Footnotes

  1. 1. Hugo von Tschudi, “Der Meister von Flémalle,” Jahrbuch der königlich Preussischen Kunstsammlungen 19 (1898): 8–34, 89–116.

  2. 2. Georges Hulin de Loo, “An Authentic Work by Jacques Daret, painted in 1434,” The Burlington Magazine 15 (1909): 202–8; Georges Hulin de Loo, “Jacques Daret’s Nativity of Our Lord,” The Burlington Magazine 19 (1911): 218–25. 

  3. 3. Emile Renders, with Jos. De Smet and Louis Beyaert-Carlier, La solution du problème Van der Weyden−Flémalle−Campin (Bruges: Charles Beyaert, 1931). 

  4. 4. Max J. Friedländer, Rogier van der Weyden and the Master of Flémalle, ed. Nicole Veronee-Verhaegen, trans. Heinz Norden, Early Netherlandish Painting 2 (Leyden: Sijthoff; Brussels: Éditions de la Connaissance, 1967), 38. For Friedländer’s views on the identification of the Master of Flémalle and his contacts with Renders on this question, see Suzanne A. M. Laemers, “Max J. Friedländer, 1867–1958: Kunst en kennerschap, een leven gewijd aan de vroege Nederlandse schilderkunst” (PhD diss., University of Utrecht, 2017), 251–81.

  5. 5. In the English edition, this supplement is included in Friedländer’s volume on Rogier van der Weyden and the Master of Flémalle: Friedländer, Rogier van der Weyden, 53–56.

  6. 6. Friedländer, Rogier van der Weyden, 38.

  7. 7. Erwin Panofsky, Early Netherlandish Painting: Its Origins and Character, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1953), 166–67.

  8. 8. H. Die, “Original und nicht Kopie,” Die Weltkunst 25 (1955): 11–12. 

  9. 9. Cyriel Stroo and Pascale Syfer-d’Olne, The Flemish Primitives 1: The Master of Flémalle and Rogier van der Weyden Groups. Catalogue of Early Netherlandish Painting in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium (Brussels: Brepols, 1996), 41.

  10. 10. Theodore Rousseau Jr, “The Merode Altarpiece,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 16 (1957–58): 117.

  11. 11. Rousseau, “Merode Altarpiece,” 122.

  12. 12. William Suhr, “The Restoration of the Merode Altarpiece,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 16 (1957–58): 143.

  13. 13. Rousseau, “Merode Altarpiece,” 125-126; Suhr, “Restoration of the Merode Altarpiece,” 144.

  14. 14. H. Th. Musper, Altniederländische Malerei von Van Eyck bis Bosch (Cologne: DuMont Schauberg, 1968), 62.

  15. 15. Lorne Campbell, “Robert Campin, the Master of Flémalle and the Master of Mérode,” The Burlington Magazine 116 (1974): 643–45.

  16. 16. Jeltje Dijkstra, “Origineel en kopie: Een onderzoek naar de navolging van de Meester van Flémalle en Rogier van der Weyden” (PhD diss., University of Amsterdam, 1990), 164–69; J. R. J. van Asperen de Boer, J. Dijkstra, and R. Van Schoute, with C. M. A. Dalderup and J. P. Filedt Kok, “Underdrawing in Paintings of the Rogier van der Weyden and Master of Flémalle Groups,” Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 41 (1990; published 1992): 108–16.

  17. 17. Stephan Kemperdick, Meister von Flémalle: Die Werkstatt Robert Campins und Rogier van der Weyden (Turnhout: Brepols, 1997), 79–84.

  18. 18. Peter Klein, “Dendrochronological Findings in Panels of the Campin Group,” in Susan Foister and Susie Nash, eds., Robert Campin: New Directions in Scholarship (Turnhout: Brepols, 1996), 79, figs. 5, 80, 84.

  19. 19. Kemperdick, Meister von Flémalle, 84–85; Maryan W. Ainsworth and Keith Christiansen, eds., From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Abrams, 1998), 92; Stephan Kemperdick and Jochen Sander, eds., Der Meister von Flémalle und Rogier van der Weyden, exh. cat. (Frankfurt am Main: Städel Museum; Berlin: Gemäldegalerie, 2008), 198. Dijkstra, “Origineel en kopie,” 173–75, also assumes that the Brussels Annunciation never had wings, but she suggests that it could have been part of a series of scenes in an altarpiece destined for a Westphalian church. This is contradicted, however, by Stroo and Syfer-d’Olne, Flemish Primitives 1, 46, because of the different traditions of altarpieces in Westphalia and the Netherlands. Moreover, whereas the composition of the Brussels Annunciation was followed in a number of images, no influences of other—lost—scenes from such a hypothetical altarpiece have been detected. 

  20. 20. Kemperdick, Meister von Flémalle, 88, 91. 

  21. 21. Kemperdick, Meister von Flémalle, 85. 

  22. 22. For a critical discussion of these identifications, see Kemperdick, Meister von Flémalle, 85–88. 

  23. 23. In the form depicted here, with a chain, this coat of arms occurs on the seal of Peter Engelbrecht that is attached to a document from 1443; Felix Thürlemann, Robert Campin, das Mérode-Tryptichon: Ein Hochzeitsbild für Peter Engelbrecht und Gretchen Schrinmechers aus Köln (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 1997), 83n47.

  24. 24. Mojmír S. Frinta, “The Authorship of the Merode Triptych,” The Art Quarterly 31 (1968): 247–65; Kemperdick, Meister von Flémalle, 94–99.

  25. 25. Kemperdick, Meister von Flémalle, 159–64. See also Stephan Kemperdick and Jochen Sander, “Der Meister von Flémalle, Robert Campin und Rogier van der Weyden: Ein Resümee,” in Kemperdick and Sander, Meister von Flémalle, 149–59. 

  26. 26. Friedländer, Rogier van der Weyden, 35.

  27. 27. “Annunciation Triptych (Merode Altarpiece), ca. 1427–32, Workshop of Robert Campin,” Metropolitan Museum of Art website, accessed March 10, 2022, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/470304.

  28. 28. Rousseau, “Merode Altarpiece,” 122–23.

  29. 29. For chemise bindings, see Margit J. Smith, The Medieval Girdle Book (New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2017), 5–7.

  30. 30. As suggested for both the Brussels and the Mérode Annunciation by Kemperdick, Meister von Flémalle, 85. See also “Annunciation Triptych (Merode Altarpiece).”

  31. 31. Dijkstra, “Origineel en kopie,” 173; Kemperdick, Meister von Flémalle, 82–83.

  32. 32. Henk van Os, Marias Demut und Verherrlichung in der Sienesischen Malerei 1300–1450, Kunsthistorische Studien van het Nederlands Historisch Instituut te Rome 1 (’s Gravenhage: Staatsuitgeverij, 1969), 101–6; Beth Williamson, “Site, Seeing and Salvation in Fourteenth-Century Avignon,” Art History 30 (2007): 1–25.

  33. 33. Stroo and Syfer-d’Olne, Flemish Primitives 1, 44.

  34. 34. Van Os, Marias Demut, 47, 107–8, 112–13, 117, 119.

  35. 35. Elisabeth Taburet-Delahaye, ed., Paris 1400: Les arts sous Charles VI, exh. cat. (Paris: Musée du Louvre, 2004), 288–89.

  36. 36. Van Os, Marias Demut, 79–100.

  37. 37. Isa Ragusa and Rosalie B. Green, trans., Meditations on the Life of Christ: An Illustrated Manuscript of the Fourteenth Century (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1961), 17.

  38. 38. Van Os, Marias Demut, 42–43.

  39. 39. Ragusa and Green, Meditations, 19.

  40. 40. This has been observed by Kemperdick, Meister von Flémalle, 84. The capital A in the book on the table is emphasized by the arrangement of the chemise and one of the leather strips of the primary cover that serve to keep the book closed. The capital D in this book may allude to “Dominus tecum,” but it is not clear why it precedes the A of “Ave.”

  41. 41. Ragusa and Green, Meditations, 19.

  42. 42. See Millard Meiss, Painting in Florence and Siena after the Black Death: The Arts, Religion, and Society in the Mid-Fourteenth Century (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1951), 153–54, on the combination of the Madonna of Humility with the Apocalyptic Woman: “The Virgin is Regina coeli as well as Nostra domina de humilitate, and thus ‘Regina humilitatis.’’’

  43. 43. Mojmír S. Frinta, The Genius of Robert Campin (The Hague: Mouton, 1966), 20–21.

  44. 44. Kemperdick, Meister von Flémalle, 104, also sees the change of the eyes as proof that the Prado Virgin is based on the Mérode Virgin, but, in Kemperdick and Sander, Meister von Flémalle, 232, he no longer considers this a decisive argument.

  45. 45. This is an allusion to Sixten Ringbom, Icon to Narrative: The Rise of the Dramatic Close-up in Fifteenth-Century Devotional Painting, 2nd ed. (Doornspijk: Davaco, 1984).

  46. 46. See H. W. Janson, Form Follows FunctionOr Does It?: Modernist Design Theory and the History of Art (Maarssen: Schwartz, 1982).

  47. 47. Klaus Schreiner, “Marienverehrung, Lesekultur, Schriftlichkeit: Bildungs- und frömmigkeitsgeschichtliche Studien zur Auslegung und Darstellung von ‘Mariä Verkündigung,’” Frühmittelalterliche Studien: Jahrbuch des Instituts für Frühmittelalterforschung der Universität Münster 24 (1990): 315.

  48. 48. Klaus Schreiner, “‘. . . wie Maria geleicht einem puch’: Beiträge zur Buchmetaphorik des hohen und späten Mittelalters,” in Archiv für Geschichte des Buchwesens 11 (1970–71): 1453.

  49. 49. David M. Robb, “The Iconography of the Annunciation in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries,” The Art Bulletin 18 (1936): 523–26; Ernst Guldan, “‘Et verbum caro factum est’: Die Darstellung der Inkarnation Christi im Verkündigungsbild,” Römische Quartalschrift für christliche Altertumskunde und Kirchengeschichte 63 (1968): 145–69. In fifteenth-century Italy, the motif was disapproved of by San Antonino, archbishop of Florence. See Michael Baxandall, Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy, (London: Oxford University Press, 1976), 43.

  50. 50. Millard Meiss, “Light as Form and Symbol in Some Fifteenth‑Century Paintings,” The Art Bulletin 27 (1945): 175–81.

  51. 51. Meiss, “Light as Form,” 176.

  52. 52. Lorne Campbell, National Gallery Catalogues: The Fifteenth-Century Netherlandish Schools (London: National Gallery Publications, 1998), 92–99.

  53. 53. Such a connection is also supposed in Carol Purtle, “The Iconography of Campin’s Madonnas in Interiors: A Search for Common Ground,” in Foister and Nash, Robert Campin, 176, 181n11, and in Felix Thürlemann, Robert Campin: Eine Monographie mit Werkkatalog (Munich: Prestel 2002), 96.

  54. 54. Kemperdick and Sander, Meister von Flémalle, 232.

  55. 55. For the text of this prayer see “Ave moeder van genaden,” Middelnederlandse Berijmde Gebeden: Teksten, Handschriften, Devoties (blog), accessed March 10, 2022, https://berijmdegebeden.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/ave-moeder-van-genaden. See also Johannes B. Oosterman, De gratie van het gebed: Middelnederlandse berijmde gebeden: overlevering en functie, met bijzondere aandacht voor produktie en receptie in Brugge (1380–1450) (Amsterdam: Prometheus 1995), 1:139–42, 2:233.

  56. 56. For an interpretation of the Virgin in the Mérode Annunciation as the “Mystical Rose,” see Reindert Falkenburg, “The Household of the Soul: Conformity in the Merode Triptych,” in Maryan W. Ainsworth, ed., Early Netherlandish Painting at the Crossroads: A Critical Look at Current Methodologies; The Metropolitan Museum of Art Symposia (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Yale University Press, 2001), 10–11.

  57. 57. Contradicting Gottlieb’s view that the liturgical niche in the Mérode Annunciation labels the room as a sanctuary, Harbison points out that such niches also existed in fifteenth-century houses. See Carla Gottlieb, “Respiciens per Fenestras: The Symbolism of the Mérode Altarpiece,” Oud Holland 85 (1970): 65–67; Craig Harbison, “Realism and Symbolism in Early Flemish Painting,” The Art Bulletin 66 (1984): 591n18.

  58. 58. Panofsky, Early Netherlandish Painting, 137, 143. 

  59. 59. See William S. Heckscher, “The Annunciation of the Mérode Altarpiece: An Iconographic Study,” in Miscellanea Jozef Duverger: Bijdragen tot de Kunstgeschiedenis der Nederlanden 1 (Ghent: Society for the History of Textile Arts, 1968), 37–65; Cynthia Hahn, “‘Joseph Will Perfect, Mary Enlighten and Jesus Save Thee’: The Holy Family as Marriage Model in the Mérode Triptych,” The Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 54–66.

  60. 60. A great number of interpretations are mentioned in Albert Châtelet, Robert Campin, De Meester van Flémalle (Antwerpen: Mercatorfonds, 1997), 292–93. For an essay on the study of disguised symbolism in the Mérode Altarpiece, see Bastian Eclercy, “Von Mausefallen und Ofenschirmen: Zum Problem des ‘Disguised Symbolism’ bei den frühen Niederländern,” in Kemperdick and Sander, Meister von Flémalle, 133–47. For an essay on the study of disguised symbolism in early Netherlandish painting, see Craig Harbison, “Iconography and Iconology,” in Bernhard Ridderbos, Anne van Buren, and Henk van Veen, eds., Early Netherlandish Paintings: Rediscovery, Reception and Research (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press; Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2005), 378–406.

  61. 61. Especially because of the realistic character of the bench in the Annunciation, with its reversible back, Josef de Coo has contested the symbolic meanings of objects in the Mérode Altarpiece. See Jozef De Coo, “A Medieval Look at the Mérode Annunciation,” Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 44 (1981): 114–32; Jozef De Coo, “Robert Campin: Weitere Vernachlässigte Aspekte,” Wiener Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte 44 (1991): 79–105, 97–100. General criticism on the idea of disguised symbolism in early Netherlandish painting has been expressed by James H. Marrow, “Symbol and Meaning in Northern European Art of the Late Middle Ages and the Early Renaissance,” Simiolus 16 (1986): 150–69. See also Craig Harbison, “Response to James Marrow,” Simiolus 16 (1986): 170–71.

  62. 62. Panofsky, Early Netherlandish Painting, 143.

  63. 63. Minott has argued that the Mérode candle is not really extinguished and refers to Isaiah 42, according to which God’s servant, i.e. Christ, shall not quench the smoking flax. Besides the fact that this is incompatible with the candle in the Brussels panel, there is no suggestion at all that the spark of the Mérode candle is going to burn again. See Charles Ilsley Minott, “The Theme of the Mérode Altarpiece,” The Art Bulletin 51 (1969): 270. Snyder suggests that the candle is a marriage candle, “to be snuffed out at the consummation of the marriage,” and that it alludes here to “the moment when the first marriage of the Virgin to God is fulfilled.” The idea that such a candle was snuffed out is not supported by textual or iconographic evidence. See James Snyder, Northern Renaissance Art: Painting, Sculpture, the Graphic Arts from 1350 to 1575, rev. ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2005), 114. Because the smoke of the candle curls to the left, Heckscher assumes that the candle has been extinguished by the Virgin when pronouncing the words “Ecce Ancilla Domini.” His interpretation is based only on the underdrawing, in which the Virgin seems to look in the direction of the angel. See Heckscher, “The Annunciation,” 55–57, 59–60, 62–64. Neilsen Blum opines that the Holy Spirit has snuffed out the candle; the same idea is put forward by Châtelet, Robert Campin, 99, who supposes that the Holy Spirit, just like at Pentecost, is present in the form of a stream of air, and by Thürlemann, who refers to the Legenda Aurea, in which it is said in the Chapter on the Nativity that “the Virgin begot her Son not from human seed but from a mystic breath.” See Shirley Neilsen Blum, Early Netherlandish Triptychs: A Study in Patronage (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969), 9; Châtelet, Robert Campin, 99; Thürlemann, Robert Campin, das Mérode-Triptychon, 33, 81, note 33; Thürlemann, Robert Campin: Eine Monographie, 70, 220n100. For the Legenda Aurea, see Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints, trans. William Granger Ryan (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993), 1:39.

  64. 64. Campbell, National Gallery Catalogues, 83–91.

  65. 65. For a different view on this candle, see Catherine Reynolds, “Reality and Image: Interpreting Three Paintings of the Virgin and Child in an Interior Associated with Campin,” in Foister and Nash, Robert Campin, 190.

  66. 66. “The Annunciation, ca. 1465–70, Hans Memling,” Metropolitan Museum of Art website, accessed March 10, 2022, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/437490.

  67. 67. “The Annunciation, 1480–89, Hans Memling,” Metropolitan Museum of Art website, accessed March 10, 2022, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/459055.

  68. 68. For this woodcut as an allusion to the Virgin, see Stroo and Syfer-d’Olne, Flemish Primitives 1, 46.

  69. 69. Steinberg associates the Christ Child caressing the Virgin in this panel with the Bridegroom and Bride from the Song of Songs, and the touching of his penis with the Circumcision. See Leo Steinberg, The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance Art and in Modern Oblivion, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 257–59. According to Urbach, both gestures can be related to the Circumcision, since the Christ Child could be comforting his mother at the occasion of this event, as described in the Meditationes Vitae Christi; this idea is further developed by Purtle. See Susan Urbach, “On the Iconography of Campin’s Virgin and Child in an Interior: The Child Jesus Comforting His Mother after the Circumcision,” in Maurice Smeyers and Bert Cardon, eds., Flanders in a European Perspective: Manuscript Illumination around 1400 in Flanders and Abroad; Proceedings of the International Colloquium, Leuven, 7–10 September 1993 (Leuven: Peeters, 1995), 557–68; Purtle, “The Iconography,” 178–79. The interpretation proposed by Urbach and Purtle does not seem very probable to me; when, according to the Meditationes, at the Circumcision Christ’s flesh was cut with a stone knife, both the Christ Child and the Virgin were crying and consoling each other, but in the painting there is no reference to the action of the Circumcision by means of a knife, and mother and son are not weeping; see Ragusa and Green, Meditations, 43–44. Urbach, “On the Iconography,” 560, incorrectly writes that, according to Ragusa and Green, the phrase “His flesh was cut with a stone knife by His Mother” is missing in the Latin original, but their remark only concerns the words “by His Mother”; Ragusa and Green, Meditations, 394n21. For similar criticism on the supposed relationship between the caressing and the Circumcision, see Steinberg, The Sexuality of Christ, 280; Reynolds, “Reality and Image,” 194n61; Campbell, National Gallery Catalogues, 86. Accepting Steinberg’s association of the Daret panel with the Bridegroom and Bride, Reynolds, “Reality and Image,” 189–90, supposes that the Christ Child touching his penis indicates sexual awareness. Such an interpretation of this gesture seems to me too down to earth, not to say too vulgar, for a union between the Virgin and Child inspired by the Song of Songs.

  70. 70. For the exposure of Christ’s genitals in medieval and Renaissance art as a sign of the Incarnation, Steinberg’s The Sexuality of Christ is the pioneering study. For this motif in The Virgin and Child before a Firescreen, see David Bomford, Lorne Campbell, Ashok Roy, and Raymond White, “The Virgin and Child Before a Firescreen: History, Examination and Treatment,” in Foister and Nash, Robert Campin, 43–44, 45. For this motif in the Flémallesque Madonna with Saints, in Washington, see Urbach, “On the Iconography,” 563.

  71. 71. Reynolds, “Reality and Image,” 194n61, points out that this motif was already known in the West before the icon of Notre Dame de Grâces arrived in Cambrai in 1440. For the influence of Byzantine icons on early Netherlandish art, see Maryan W. Ainsworth, “À la facon grèce”: The Encounter of Northern Renaissance Artists with Byzantine Icons,” in Helen C. Evans, ed., Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261–1557), exh. cat. (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art; New Haven, London: Yale University Press, 2004), 545–55.

  72. 72. Purtle, “The Iconography,” 177, 181n18.

  73. 73. For the theme of the bathing of the Christ Child, see Urbach, “On the Iconography,” 557–59; for a reference to the February miniature by the Limbourg brothers, see, in the same article, 559, and Campbell, National Gallery Catalogues, 91n4.

  74. 74. The similarity of the rails in The Virgin and Child in an Interior and Saint Barbara is noted by Urbach and by Campbell, who, in his entry on the first panel, also reproduces The Virgin and Child by a Fireplace, where the rail is attached to the wall in a different way. See Urbach, “On the Iconography,” 559; Campbell, National Gallery Catalogues, 86, 87, figs. 6, 7.

  75. 75. Ragusa and Green, Meditations, 16.

  76. 76. Ainsworth connects the book pages, smoking candle, and scroll in the Mérode Annunciation with both the angel and the descending Christ Child. Acres, on the other hand, emphasizes that the direction of the smoke does not correspond with the landing of the angel but, as argued by Heckscher, with Mary’s breath when she speaks the words “Ecce Ancilla Domini”; the Virgin, however, is not speaking at all. See Ainsworth and Christiansen, From Van Eyck, 90; Alfred Acres, Renaissance Invention and the Haunted Infancy (London, Turnhout: Miller, 2013), 199. For Heckscher, see note 63.

  77. 77. Previously observed by Kemperdick, Meister von Flémalle, 83.

  78. 78. For this bench, see De Coo, “A Medieval Look.”

  79. 79. Ellen Callman, “Campin’s Maiolica Pitcher,” The Art Bulletin 64 (1982): 629–31. De Bruin’s suggestion that the inscription contains an anagram, which he deciphers on doubtful grounds as “du Kampyn” and therefore considers as a “crypto-signature” of Robert Campin, is completely unconvincing; the name of this master is not known in such a way. See T. L. de Bruin, “Le Maitre de Flémalle et sa crypto-signature,” Gazette des Beaux-Arts 67 (1966): 5–6.

  80. 80. With thanks to Larry Silver for this suggestion. For the use of Greek and Hebrew letters in fifteenth-century Netherlandish paintings, see Susan Frances Jones, “Jan van Eyck’s Greek, Hebrew and Trilingual Inscriptions,” in Christina Currie et al., eds., Van Eyck Studies: Papers Presented at the Eighteenth Symposium for the Study of Underdrawing and Technology in Painting, Brussels, 19–21 September 2012 (Paris: Peeters, 2017), 291–308.

  81. 81. This is argued by Callmann, “Campin’s Maiolica Pitcher,” 631, because a model drawing would not have included both views of the pitcher.

  82. 82. Margaret M. B. Freeman, “The Iconography of the Merode Altarpiece,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 16 (1957–58): 132; “Jug, ca. 1480–1500, Italian, Florence or environs (probably Montelupo),” Metropolitan Museum of Art website, accessed March 10, 2022, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/204524.

  83. 83. See also Falkenburg, “Household of the Soul,” 8–11. 

  84. 84. Anne Winston-Allen, Stories of the Rose: The Making of the Rosary in the Middle Ages (University Park: Pensylvania State University Press, 1997), 100–3.

  85. 85. For this question in relation to portrait diptychs, see Susy Nash, Northern Renaissance Art (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 284; Bernhard Ridderbos, Schilderkunst in de Bourgondische Nederlanden (Leuven: Davidsfonds; Zwolle: W Books 2014), 270–71.

  86. 86. Otto Pächt, “Künstlerische Originalität und ikonographische Erneuerung,” in Stil und Überlieferung in der Kunst des Abendlandes: Akten des 21. Internationalen Kongresses für Kunstgeschichte in Bonn 1964, vol. 3, Theorien und Probleme (Berlin: Mann, 1967), 266–67.

  87. 87. Pächt, “Künstlerische Originalität,” 268; Hahn, “Joseph Will Perfect,” 56.

  88. 88. Meyer Schapiro, ‘“Muscipula Diaboli’: The Symbolism of the Mérode Altarpiece,” The Art Bulletin 27 (1945): 182–87. 

  89. 89. Schapiro, “Muscipula Diaboli,” 185.

  90. 90. Johan Huizinga, Autumntide of the Middle Ages: A Study of Forms of Life and Thought of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries in France and the Low Countries, trans. Diane Webb, ed. Graeme Small and Anton van der Lem (Leiden: Leiden University Press, 2020), 508n1. Huizinga added his remark about the symbolism of the mousetrap in a note in the fourth edition of Herfsttij der Middeleeuwen, from 1935, but since his book had already been translated into English in 1924, this was not noticed by Schapiro. Only sixty years after the publication of Schapiro’s article was it pointed out that Huizinga had been earlier in detecting the meaning of the motif. See Wessel Krul, “Realisme, Renaissance en nationalisme: Cultuurhistorische opvattingen over de Oudnederlandse schilderkunst tussen 1860 en 1920,” in Bernhard Ridderbos and Henk van Veen, eds., “Om iets te weten van de oude meesters”: De Vlaamse Primitieven—herontdekking, waardering en onderzoek (Heerlen: Open University; Nijmegen: SUN, 1995), 280; Thürlemann, Robert Campin, das Mérode-Triptychon, 79n13; Wessel Krul, “Realism, Renaissance and Nationalism,” in Ridderbos, Van Buren, and Van Veen, Early Netherlandish Paintings, 289.

  91. 91. Schapiro, “Muscipula Diaboli,” 182.

  92. 92. Minott, “Theme of the Mérode Altarpiece,” 267–68.

  93. 93. Minott, “Theme of the Mérode Altarpiece,” 267.

  94. 94. Minott, “Theme of the Mérode Altarpiece,” 268; Bruce D. Chilton, The Isaiah Targum: Introduction, Translation, Apparatus and Notes (Wilmington, DE: Glazier, 1987), 25.

  95. 95. “For the most part of the Middle Ages the study of Aramaic (and Hebrew) was effectively the domain of isolated intellectuals”; Judith Olszowy-Schlanger, “The Study of the Aramaic Targum by Christians in Medieval France and England,” in Alberdina Houtman, Eveline van Staalduine-Sulman, and Hans-Martin Kirn, eds., A Jewish Targum in a Christian World (Leiden: Brill 2014), 237. See also, in the same volume, Stephen G. Burnett, “The Targum in Christian Scholarship to 1800,” 250–53.

  96. 96. This opinion is not generally shared: “Ein extremes Beispiel für eine ad absurdum geführte Anwendung des ‘disguised symbolism’ ist etwa der Aufsatz von Charles Minott, der sämtliche Werkzeuge mit weit hergeholten theologischen Bedeutungen belegt.” See Eclercy, “Von Mausefallen,” 144.

  97. 97. For the foot stove, see Panofsky, Early Netherlandish Painting, 164. For the spike-block, see Freeman, “Iconography of the Merode Altarpiece,” 138; Charles de Tolnay, “L’autel Mérode du Maître de Flémalle,” Gazette des Beaux-Arts 53 (1959): 75; Malcolm Russell, “The Woodworker and the Redemption: The Right Shutter of the Merode Triptych,” Simiolus 39 (2017): 344–45, 348–49. For the baitbox, see Meyer Schapiro, “A Note on the Mérode Altarpiece,” The Art Bulletin 41 (1959): 327–28. For the mousetrap, see Irwin L. Zupnick, “The Mystery of the Mérode Mousetrap,” The Burlington Magazine 118 (1966): 130. For the firescreen, see Heckscher, “Annunciation of the Mérode Altarpiece,” 48; Daniel Arasse, “A propos de l’article de Meyer Schapiro, Muscipula Diaboli: Le ‘réseau figuratif’ du rétable de Mérode,” in Symboles de la Renaissance, 2nd ed. (Paris: Presses de l’École normale supérieure, 1980), 47–51; Hahn, “Joseph Will Perfect,” 60–61. For the rod holder of Mary’s suitors, see Minott, “Theme of the Mérode Altarpiece,” 268n14. For the winepress strainer, see Marilyn Aronberg Lavin, “The Mystic Winepress in the Mérode Altarpiece,” in Irving Lavin and John Plummer, eds., Studies in Late Medieval and Renaissance Painting in Honor of Millard Meiss (New York: New York University Press, 1977), 297–301.

  98. 98. Russell, “Woodworker and the Redemption.” This was earlier suggested by Tolnay, “L’autel Mérode,” 75.

  99. 99. For the chopping knife, the bowl, and the arrangement of the tools, see Russell, “Woodworker and the Redemption,” 341, 342. Contrary to the description in John 19:32, Russell supposes that the breaking of the legs took place before the death of the thiefs.

  100. 100. De Coo, “Medieval Look,” 128–29; De Coo, “Robert Campin,” 93–97.

  101. 101. Since the woodcut of Saint Christopher in the Brussels Annunciation seems to refer to the Virgin as bearer of the Christ Child, Kemperdick, Meister von Flémalle, 85, supposes that the pendant alludes to a wish for children.

  102. 102. Helmut Nickel, “The Man beside the Gate,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 24 (1965–66): 237–44.

  103. 103. For a symbolic interpretation of the depicted door and the door opening that is visible in the Annunciation, see Lynn F. Jacobs, Opening Doors: The Early Netherlandish Triptych Reinterpreted (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2012), 50–51.

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DOI: 10.5092/jhna.2022.14.1.2
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