A solo presentation of new works by Ron van der Ende @ The Armory Show Pier 94 | Booth 1414 March 3-6):
Ron van der Ende, Still Life, 2010
Bas-relief in salvaged wood
70.8 x 40 x 4.75 in | 180 x 102 x 12 cm
Ah well, at least I have a tiny printout of this one:
Pieter Aertsen, Meat Still Life, 1551
Oil on wood panel
123.3 x 150 cm (48.5 x 59")
University Art Collections, Uppsala University, Sweden
Like other moralistic satire pieces, you get to play find-the-Christ. Fun!
"In the 16th and 17th centuries it was quite common for theologians to see a slaughtered animal as symbolizing the death of a believer. Allusions to the 'weak flesh' (cf. Matthew 16:41) may well have been associated with Aertsen's Butcher's Stall where - like on his fruit and vegetable stalls - a seemingly infinite abundance of meat has been spread out."
I've always read this painting however, as an aspect of the flourishing of capitalism (the proliferation of dead meat and other commodities available to all) in a largely Christian area and the ensuing ambivalence between wealth/greed and faith.
But don't forget Paul's injunctions in Romans 14, even during this Lenten season:
"Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them...Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God." Take that, Jesusveg!
P.S. I recently got to see one of my most beloved find-the-christ pictures of all time at the Cloisters in upper Manhattan. It is cited by the Met's Timeline of Art History as an early example of still-life painting (with Joseph and his tools in the right-hand panel. And like Jesus, the first artist (Ron van der Ende)grew up with a father whose medium was wood.