The Merode Altarpiece



In this lesson we are going to be examining the Merode Altarpiece which explores the story of the Angel Gabriel came to Mary and announcing that she is going to bear the Christ child. I’ve chosen this painting because it is full of hidden symbols that make it a fun work to explore. 

The Lesson can be done in one morning or afternoon, or a bit at a time over the month. Do what works for your family. In my school we set aside our regular curriculum during December and used a variety of Christmas preparation activities for our curriculum. If that interests you, you can read more about that here. 

If you want to go that route, the material included in this packet can be extended out to a full curriculum for a week or two. It’s up to you.

This lesson also lends itself well to being done with a group of students. A family that has multiple children is ideal, or you could combine with a few other families for a morning of art and do the lesson together. 

If you share on social media your students projects I would love to be tagged to see your results!

In this packet you will receive:

  • A series of PDF’s of the altarpiece. The work is a triptych, meaning it has three panels and can be folded shut. So, included are PDF’s of the entire work, each of the panels individually, and close up of individual details. 
  • Complete Teacher Instructions
  • Glossary of terms 
  • Vocabulary Lesson
  • A print out of the story from the gospel of Luke
  • A Narration Sheet  This can be used at the end of your study to assess what students have learned, or it can be used for note-taking during the study. 
  • Instructions for a culminating activity where students will make their own Christmas triptych. 
  • Extension ideas for linking the work to history, science, math, and writing. 



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