Monday, May 18, 2009

Merode Altarpiece

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The other night I was reading about something or other, and that lead me to something else, and then something else, which lead me to this. The Merode Altarpiece is all I really remember, and it was the take-home message apparently. I dunno... anyway, gorgeous print with the three panel idea... read more, if you like, from the two links below.
The Mérode Altarpiece is a three-panel painting by the Early Netherlandish painter Robert Campin, although believed by some to be by a follower, probably copying an original by Campin.[1] It is currently described by the Metropolitan as by "Robert Campin and assistant".[2] It was created between 1425 and 1428. As arguably the finest Early Netherlandish work in New York, and in North America until the Washington Van Eyck Annunciation was acquired, it has become Campin's best known work, helped by the undoubted charm of the domestic setting and townscape outside the windows.

Two mousetraps are shown here. One is on the workshop bench; another is placed on the ledge of the workshop window. Did the artist only intend to show Joseph at work on a household object? Or did he intend, as one scholar suggested, an additional meaning? Was he picturing visually the sermon of Saint Augustine who said, "The Cross of the Lord was the Devil's mousetrap; the bait by which he was caught was the Lord's death." It was believed by the people of the Middle Ages that the divine nature of Christ must be kept from the Devil, yet only through the taking of the bait by the Devil could Christ be victorious. Saint Augustine said, "The Devil exulted when Christ died, but by this very death he was vanquished, as if he had swallowed the bait in the mousetrap."

EDIT: I remember now!: full version requiring password.

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