The Mérode Altarpiece Essay

The picture was executed by Robert Campin (who is also known as the Master of Flemalle) in the year 1427. It is a painting created with oil on wood that has a size of 64,1*117,8 cm for central part and 64,5*27,3 for each wing.

The painting deals with the religious theme and depicts several saints. First of all, it is Joseph who is depicted in the left wing of the triptych. There are also Virgin, the Holy Spirit, and several others.

The scene of the picture is typical of the period of late Antique and Early Christian Mediaeval to which it dates from. There are many symbols in on the triptych that touches upon different issues connected with the Christian faith. The author uses linear perspective in the triptych, which usually makes it seem somewhat confining (Lev, 2005).

The Holy Trinity
The Holy Trinity by Masaccio was executed in 1428. The picture is dedicated to the religious theme. It depicts Christ in the higher part of the picture, Saint John and Virgin Mary on the sides of the chapel and the donors who are the husband and wife. The second part of the picture, which is situated lower, depicts the tomb with the bones, which are the most likely to be the skeleton of Adam.

The prospect is linear, and the author uses the very precise technique. It is so accurate that one can quickly calculate the depth and height of the chapel. “Thus, he achieves not the only successful illusion, but a rational, metrical coherence that, by maintaining the mathematical proportions of the surface design, is responsible for the unity and harmony of this monumental composition.” (The Holy Trinity of Masaccio)

Compare and contrast
First of all, one should notice that both pictures have the same subject and they are painted almost at the same time. It is remarkable since they relate to one epoch. Both pictures use linear perspective and both have similar characters depicted.

However, it is interesting to note, that the pictures are executed in completely different techniques. The picture of Masaccio is much closer to the typical Mediaeval art school, while Robert Campin’s work is closer to the late Antique perceptions about art.

Despite the fact, that there are many similarities in those pictures like the same period, theme, characters and even perspective they represent the entirely different approaches to in painting. The Holy Trinity is an excellent example of early Mediaeval paintings with its dark colors and typefaces. On the contrary, The Mérode Altarpiece is the picture with many details and much more life in it, that is more typical for the late Antic arts. On the examples of those images, one can see the shift that took place in the arts in the given period.

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