Artibus et Historiae no. 44 (XXII)

2001, ISSN 0391-9064

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SERGIUSZ MICHALSKI - Flesh and Spirit: On Pictorial Symbolism in Pieter Aertsen

The so-called "inverted paintings" of Pieter Aertsen have been since 1973 the subject of a very intensive scholarly debate. Aiming at an all-encompassing interpretation the article puts forward the concept of the manducatio indignorum and its Eucharist ramifications and illustrates it with both images of the Last Supper and that of the lesser known Parable of the Great Supper (Math. 22). A close analysis of Aertsen's most important painting, the Christ in the House of Maria and Martha (1552, Vienna), shows it to illustrate subsequent scriptural verses form Luke, 10-12. The type as such served also as a demonstration of the virtuoso illusionistic powers of the artist.

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