Portable triptychs – three panels hinged together – were opened for personal prayer away from a church. The format guides the viewer by creating a hierarchy among the various holy subjects. Historic events in the life of the Virgin and Christ are placed on the wings. The Annunciation – the earliest subject – is appropriately at the top: the angel Gabriel gestures across space to the Virgin opposite him, while on the central panel, God blesses her. The Nativity and Crucifixion follow to the sides. These events are secondary to the central, timeless image: the Virgin and Child united together with saints from different periods and places. Perpetually together before Christ, the saints act as our intercessors to the divine.