The Merode Altarpiece.
The Merode Altarpiece, created by the Early Netherlandish painter Robert Campin, is a personal triptych altarpiece that displays various aspects of iconography.
Firstly, the central panel of the altarpiece depicts the Annunciation, with the angel Gabriel visiting the Virgin Mary. This represents the moment when Mary was told she would give birth to Jesus and is a common iconography in Christian art.
Secondly, in the left panel, there is a representation of St. Joseph, who is depicted as a carpenter, which is a reference to his profession in the Bible. This is an aspect of iconography that links the story of the altarpiece to the life of the patrons.
In the right panel, there is a representation of the donors, the patrons of the altarpiece. The donors are depicted in the form of two wealthy donors, a man and a woman, dressed in elegant clothing, who are kneeling and praying, this is an aspect of iconography that represents the patrons as pious and devout people.
The patrons of the Merode Altarpiece are the couple who are depicted in the right panel of the work. They are likely members of the wealthy merchant class who would have commissioned the altarpiece for personal use in their private chapel. They would have used the altarpiece as a devotional aid, to contemplate the religious scenes depicted in the central panel and to pray for their own salvation.