(b. 1508, Amsterdam, d. 1575, Amsterdam)

The Fat Kitchen. An Allegory

Oil on panel, 111 x 213 cm
Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen

The still-life genre was created by Pieter Aertsen in an Antwerp that was the leading commercial centre in Europe at the time. To Aertsen, the arrangements of food - the symbolism of which was explained in the figure scenes in the background - were a necessary alternative to religious painting. During the early years of his career he created a number of altarpieces that he, to his great wrath and sorrow, saw destroyed during the iconoclastic riots of the Reformation.