OIL PAINTING: Market Scene
This Market Scene - a painting in vertical format - shows a column of sea food on the left, building up and culminating in a ray and - directly opposite, on the right - a large number of fruits of the field and the garden. Wedged between this enormous abundance of produce, the farmer and his wife appear to be mere appendages whose job is only that of proudly pointing with silent gestures to the victuals that are on offer.
This oil painting has a multiple theme. The abundance of the market could be at the same time a representation of the Four Elements and an allegory of the Five Senses. Also the market woman is being pestered by a bird-catcher, who is gripping a duck round the neck with obvious erotic overtones - as well as a realistic representation. The painting is also a moral lesson, extolling moderation and restraint in contrast to the physical and sensual pleasured offered, for instance, in the plumpness of the fruit. In other paintings Aertsen introduced a religious scene in the background by way of admonition.