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Christ in the House of Martha and Mary

Christ in the House of Martha and Mary

Pieter Aertsen (in 1553, 27 juli)

Ask anything

  • LEE asked

    Why did he produce this painting? Was it for sale? And Was the motif 'Martha and Mary' popular then?

  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

    Hi Lee, it is very possible that Aertsen made this painting for the free market, as the depiction of genre scenes and wealth grew in popularity in this period.
    Best, Lisa

  • Madeline asked

    Hi, do we know who commissioned this work?

  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

    Hello Madeline, unfortunately we don't know who commissioned this work. Greetings, Sarie

  • Hendrik van Haaster asked

    What are the bunches of green stems on the left side?

  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

    Dear Hendrik, we think it could very well be leek, but we haven't researched this. On the subject of vegetables, we could however recommend this article by W. A. Brandenburg: https://books.google.nl/books?id=arVDAgAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&redir_esc=y&hl=nl#v=onepage&q&f=false
    Best, Rianne

  • Joanna and Douwe asked

    Which one is Maria and which one is Martha in the painting? We saw the painting and still are not sure.
    Joanna and Douwe

  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

    Hi Joanna and Douwe, thanks for your question, we have an answer! Maria is sitting on the floor on a pillow, with folded hands, in front of Christ. Martha is standing to his left (our right). The woman on Christ's right (left for us) is the other Maria, the mother of Christ. Best, Friso Lammertse

  • Joyce asked

    What is protruding from the chicken at the bottom of the painting and from the far leg of the chicken? Significance?

  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

    Hi Joyce, that are the intestines of the chicken. We do not know that this detail has a particular significance. But the food in the front does have a meaning; we have to look past it to see the religious scene. In other words material goods should not distract us from the religious message - kind regards, Sophie

  • Roos asked

    Het lijkt net een foto

  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

    Dag Roos, wat leuk dat je het op een foto vindt lijken! Waarom vind je dat precies?


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More information

A kitchen scene combined with a religious subject is set within Renaissance architecture. The background depicts the story of Christ in the house of Martha and Mary. This painting marks the transition from the late mediaeval practice of depicting religious subjects to a new era, in which art depicts the everyday life of the self confident bourgeoisie.

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Collection book

Collection book Order


Title Christ in the House of Martha and Mary
Material and technique Oil on panel
Object type
Painting > Painting > Two-dimensional object > Art object
Location This object is in storage
Dimensions Width 200 cm
Height 126 cm
Artists Painter: Pieter Aertsen
Accession number 1108 (OK)
Credits Acquired with the collection of D.G. Van Beuningen, 1958
Department Old Masters
Acquisition date 1958
Creation date in 1553, 27 juli
Collector Collector / D.G. van Beuningen
Internal exhibitions Van Eyck tot Bruegel (1994)
The Collection Enriched (2011)
De collectie als tijdmachine (2017)
External exhibitions Nederlandsche Kunst van de XVde en XVIde eeuw (1945)
Slow food (2017)
Research Show research Alma
Geographical origin Northern Netherlands > The Netherlands > Western Europe > Europe
Geographical origin Southern Netherlands > The Netherlands > Western Europe > Europe

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All about the artist

Pieter Aertsen

Amsterdam circa 1508 - Amsterdam 1575

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