Form: Medium: Oil on wood (oak)Overall (open): 25 3/8 x 46 3/8 inches; Central panel: 25 1/4 x 24 7/8 inches; each wing: 25 3/8 x 10 3/4 inchesFunction:For private ownership – upper social classes, attention to imperialismShows the moment when Mary finds out that she is pregnant with JesusPaintings were commissioned as aids and prayers for people to use in their homes.Content: Having just entered the room, Gabriel the angel is about to tell Virgin Mary that she will birth Jesus. The golden rays coming in through the left window in the center panel behold a small figure with a cross. This figure being the Holy Spirit, in the form of the Christ Child, which impregnates Mary. The child appears to be coming down towards Mary on rays of light. On the right wing, Joseph, Virgin Mary’s husband, works in his carpenter shop, drilling holes into a wooden board. There are mousetraps on the bench and in the shop window that are believed to be a reference to the writings of Saint Augustine identifying the cross as the devil’s mousetrap. On the left wing are the donors. The kneeling donor, appears to watch the central scene through the open door. His wife kneels behind him, and a town messenger stands at the garden gate. These are the owners of the triptych.Context:Typical of Northern Renaissance religious art, this piece humanizes Mary and Joseph by showing them doing ordinary things. They are shown in a typical Flemish household, Joseph works as a carpenter, and Mary reads a prayer book. The small details shown are very normal of the Northern Renaissance because they focused on making the painting very symbolic. For example, the pail of water with towels in the background represents Mary’s purity, and the candle symbolizes the holy pregnancy. In the upper left hand corner, the Holy Spirit comes in through the window holding a cross. Artist Biography:Robert Campin is now often referred to as the “Master of Flémalle.” It has recently been discovered that pieces of art that are now credited to Robert Campin were actually painted by artists that were close to him. Several paintings that were thought to be made by Rogier van der Weyden, who was most-likely a student of Campin’s, are now considered Robert Campin’s, including the Annunciation Triptych. Robert Campin was born in the late 1370’s and became a citizen of Tournai (Doornik in Dutch) in 1410. He first made a living from painting banners and statues. He probably became an important man in the city, since he received commissions from the city government, a number of churches and from rich citizens. He may have took part in the revolt against the patrician rulers in 1425-1426 because records show he was prosecuted several times during that period. He ran a productive workshop, employing talented artists such as Rogier van der Weyden and Jacques Daret. Similar to his fellow-painter, Jan van Eyck, Campin was one of the first to experiment with paint based on oil rather than tempera. The use of oil paint allowed him to use much richer colors.