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The Fat Kitchen. An Allegory

Pieter Aertsen1565-1575

SMK - Statens Museum for Kunst

SMK - Statens Museum for Kunst

The table is groaning under its load of meat, fish, bread, and fresh vegetables. To the right, behind the table, a peasant stands by his family, regarding us with an eloquent look. He pointedly turns his back to what goes on in the left half of the picture where we get a glimpse of a room with two couples, one young and the other old, gathered around the fireplace.

The young man is in high spirits, raising his jug of ale as he puts his arm around the girl. The old couple stare into space with a melancholy air, making them the key to understanding the picture: it is a warning against "voluptas carnis", i.e. a life in the throes of the senses, leading to gluttony, drunkenness, and moral looseness.

The still life genre

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.

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Details

  • Title: The Fat Kitchen. An Allegory
  • Creator: Pieter Aertsen
  • Date Created: 1565-1575
  • Værktekst: Bordet bugner af kød, fisk, brød og friske grønsager. I højre side bag bordet står en bonde med sin familie og ser ud på os med et talende blik. Han vender demonstrativt ryggen til det, der foregår i venstre billedhalvdel, hvor man får et kig ind i et rum, med et ungt og et gammelt par samlet omkring ildstedet. Den unge mand, der er i højt humør, svinger ølkanden, mens han lægger armen om pigen. Det gamle par ser melankolsk frem for sig, hvorved de bliver nøglen til billedet: en advarsel mod "voluptas carnis", det vil sige et liv i sansernes vold med grådighed, drikfældighed og løsagtighed til følge. Stillebenmaleriet som genre Stillebenmaleriet som genre skabtes med Pieter Aertsens pensel i et Antwerpen, der var Europas førende handelscenter. For Aertsen var opstillingerne af mad, hvis symbolik blev forklaret og understreget i baggrundenes figurscener, et nødvendigt alternativ til det religiøse maleri. I sine unge år havde han skabt en række altertavler, som han til sin store vrede og sorg måtte se blive tilintetgjort under reformationstidens billedstorme.
  • Teknik: Olie på træ
  • Proveniens: Erhvervet 1756
  • Provenance: Acquired 1756
  • Physical Dimensions: w213 x h110.5 cm (Without frame)
  • Dansk link: http://www.smk.dk/index.php?id=2696
  • Dansk Titel: Det fede køkken. En allegori. ("Voluptas Carnis")
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Statens Museum for Kunst, http://www.smk.dk/en/copyright/creative-commons/
  • Medium: Oil on panel

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