Market Scene with Christ and the Adulteress, Pieter Aertsen
Pieter Aertsen
Market Scene with Christ and the Adulteress
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Pieter Aertsen

Market Scene with Christ and the Adulteress, 1559


Dimensions
122.5 x 180.5 x min. 0.6 cm
maximum depth
0.7 cm
Physical Description
Mixed technique on oak
Inventory Number
1378
Acquisition
Acquired in 1904 as a gift from the Karl Nikolaus Berg heirs
Status
On display, 2nd upper level, Old Masters

Texts

About the Work

The market scene is an important stage in the development of Dutch still-life and genre painting. The ‘Christ and the Adulteress’ group in the middle ground is easy to overlook. Yet it provides the key to the painting’s purport – a caution against the world’s sensual dangers. Since the Dutch and German verb ‘vögeln’ (literally ‘to bird’ – the term was originally used to describe a rooster mating with a hen) alluded as much to the sex act then as it does now, the same is implied by the various birds among the wares. The market women gaze boldly out at the viewer in what contemporaries would have understood as a further allusion to shamelessness and erotic desire.

About the Acquisition

The lawyer Karl Nikolaus Berg (1826–1887) was mayor of Frankfurt from 1868 to 1880. During his term of office he worked successfully for conciliation and adaptation to the new circumstances after Prussia’s annexation of the Free City of Frankfurt. Major achievements of his years as mayor included the rebuilding of the cathedral and numerous new construction projects – from the Eiserne Steg and the Kleinmarkthalle to the Opera House. This painting was donated to the Städel by his heirs in 1904.

Audio

  • 01:44
    Basic information
  • 01:41
    Focus on religion

Work Data

Basic Information

Title
Market Scene with Christ and the Adulteress
Painter
Period Produced
School
Object Type
Physical Description
Mixed technique on oak
Material
Technique
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Monogrammiert und signiert links auf dem Fass: PA 1559 (zwischen P und A ein Dreizack)

Property and Acquisition

Institution
Administration
Collection
Creditline
Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
CC BY-SA 4.0 Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Acquisition
Acquired in 1904 as a gift from the Karl Nikolaus Berg heirs

Work Content

Motifs and References

Genre
Main Motif
Persons Shown
Associated Persons and Institutions
Illustrated Passage
  • Bibel, Neues Testament, Johannes 8,3-8

Iconclass

Primary
  • 73C72221 Christ points to or writes on the ground
  • 46B11 market
  • 46B21 merchant, salesman
  • 46BB21 merchant, salesman - BB - women engaged in trade and commerce
  • 41C65 vegetables and fruit; still life of vegetables and fruit
Secondary
  • 41C621 bread, loaf
  • 41C64 dairy products and eggs
  • 25F6 fishes
  • 34B232 fowl (cock, hen, chicken, etc.)
  • 47I2113 calf
  • 41A7751 container made of plant material other than wood: basket
  • 41A773 container of ceramics: jar, jug, pot, vase
  • 41A775 wooden container: barrel, cask
  • 25I153 obelisk, needle
  • 12B61 temple, shrine ~ non-Christian religions

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Last update

22.10.2020