Robert Campin: The Betrothal of the Virgin (1420-1430)

(Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain)

A beautiful piece by the Flemish artist Robert Campin (1375-1444) which is divided into 2 seperate scenes. On the left side is 'the Miracle of the Flowering Staff'. According to the story a group of marriageable men was assembled in the temple to see which one was suitable to marry Maria. Each men had his walking stick with him but the staff of Joseph blossomed with flowers - identifying Joseph as divinely chosen (Joseph is the man in the lower left corner who looks like he is walking away from the scene- an man is opening his cape to show the flowering staff), revealing the role of God in bringing Mary and Joseph together. On the right side is the actual betrothal of Mary and Joseph. The stained-glass windows, capitals and tympana show scenes from the Old Testament. Painting from 1420-1430.