Aertsen, The Backstory of A Meat Stall with the Holy Family Giving Alms

Detail from Aertsen's Meat Stall

Aertsen’s, A Meat Stall with the Holy Family Giving Alms, is an inverted still life that presents an allegory of physical and spiritual food. Layered images challenge the viewer to step back and view the work through a variety of lenses, thus coming to appreciate the complexities of Aertsen’s masterpiece. Created in 1551 by the […]

Ruben’s The Consequences of War

Ruben’s The Consequences of War, (or sometimes The Horrors of War) is an impressive painting. The work was painted in response to the Thirty Years’ War and is heavily allegorical. Using mythological iconography to convey an eloquent warning, Rubens gives us a painting of disturbing beauty. The message of ‘The Consequences of War’ is as […]

Bruegel’s Massacre of the Innocents

Bruegel’s Massacre of the Innocents is a powerful political work. Deemed too dangerous to be displayed multiple scenes in the work were painted over to make them more palatable. The work visually recounts the Biblical story of the children of Bethlehem being slaughtered by King Herod.  Bruegel links the story to his own countries struggle […]

Pieter Bruegel’s The Census at Bethlehem

Pieter Bruegel’s Census at Bethlehem, shifts the Biblical story into the political and physical world of 16th century Netherlands. One of the first snow landscapes painted in Europe, the Census at Bethlehem is at once a beautifully composed genre painting and a biting social commentary. In many ways it is a painting of a broken […]

Van Eyck’s Annunciation, The Hidden Meanings.

Jan Van Eyck’s Annunciation, is a work that shimmers with a luminous clarity, infusing spiritual meaning into every small detail. Van Eyck is true to the Flemish tradition of hiding symbols in the everyday and using complicated iconography. In particular, Van Eyck explores the connections between the Old and New Testament of the Bible, the […]