Christ in the House of Mary and Martha (Pieter Aertsen)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Christ in the House of Mary and Martha[1] (1552, oil on panel, 60 x 101,5 cm, Kunsthistorischen Museum is a painting by Pieter Aertsen.

Victor Stoichita a pris ce tableau comme emblème de la naissance de l'objet figuratif moderne. C'est une nature morte inversée, un genre qui apparaît vers 1550. On peut la considérer aussi comme un objet théorique, un moment essentiel de l'histoire de l'art où l'on commence à représenter le hors-cadre.[2]
Stoichita begins with an extended reading of Pieter Aertsen's Christ in the House of Mary and Martha in Vienna, where the traditional relationship between religious subject and still-life details is overturned. The kitchen still-life occupies the center foreground of the picture and the diminutive religious scene - Christ with Martha and Mary - is viewed through a picture-like embrasure in the background. Two pictorial modes are juxtaposed: the still-life is Northern, profane, and "real"; the biblical scene is Italianate, it is sacred, and it is "a painting." Aertsen has recapitulated the theme of the choice between secular and sacred that is central to the biblical scene (Martha busies herself with housework while Mary, sitting at Christ's feet, "has chosen the best part") in terms of the sixteenth-century controversy over images - a controversy that Aertsen, who saw his paintings destroyed by iconoclasts, witnessed first-hand. Aertsen stages a crisis in religious art, and places the viewer at a crossroads. [3]

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