Henryk Hector Siemiradzki's 1886 painting Christ in the House of Martha and Mary is an imagined reproduction of a scene from the New Testament, and a monumental take on a subject that had inspired Vermeer and Velázquez a few centuries previously. Siemiradzki, a renowned Polish painter working during the turbulent Partition years of the late-nineteenth century, remains firmly engrained in the history of Central European technical painting. Siemiradzki became known for his ambitious, broad, and oversized Classical canvases, rendered in the Academic style. His works are held in some of the most prestigious collections in Poland and Russia, and his emotive studies of scenes of everyday life through the scope of Biblical tales are heartfelt and resonant totems of humility and morality. Although specializing in antiquity, Siemiradzki was a profoundly modern painter, focusing on the accurate rendering of sunlight on the Polish landscape, and thus firmly rooting the teachings of the Christian world in the present-day of partition-era occupied Poland. Shortly after Christ in the House of Martha and Mary was painted, the artist was commissioned to decorate the famous monumental curtain of the Juliusz S?owacki Theatre in Kraków, further underscoring his dramatic scope and vision.
The tale of Jesus at the home of Martha and Mary is taken from the Gospel of Luke, and features Christ visiting the two aforementioned sisters in the town of Bethany. In this simple and stark story, one of the sisters chooses to sit listening to the words of Jesus instead of helping her sister with the domestic task of preparing food. Rather than scolding the other woman, Jesus stressed the value of the spiritual life over the menial tasks of the home. It is a story of devotion set in the domestic sphere, and Siemiradzki's reproduction of the scene vividly captures the rapturous attention of the listening sister.
Important Notes About Your Painting:
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