Kitchen Scene with Christ in the House of Martha and Mary

Image credit: The National Gallery, London

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A maid pounds garlic in a mortar, and other ingredients lie scattered on the table: fish, eggs, a shrivelled red pepper and an earthenware jug probably containing olive oil. An older woman points towards her, as if giving her instructions or telling her off for working too hard, or she may be drawing our attention to the figures in the background. The scene visible in the upper right is taken from the New Testament (Luke 10: 38–42). As Mary sits at Jesus’s feet, listening to him, her sister Martha complains that she should not be left to serve the food alone. Christ replies, ‘Mary has taken that good part, which shall not be taken away from her’. We view it through an opening, although it has also been read as a reflection in a mirror or a picture hung on the wall.

The National Gallery, London



Kitchen Scene with Christ in the House of Martha and Mary


probably 1618


Oil on canvas


H 60 x W 103.5 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Bequeathed by Sir William H. Gregory, 1892

Work type



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The National Gallery, London

Trafalgar Square, London, Greater London WC2N 5DN England

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