Pieter Aertsen: The Cook (1559)

(Musei di Strada Nuova, Genoa, Italy)

Pieter Aertsen (1508-1575) was a Dutch painter who specialized in scenes like this painting. Although this looks like a normal painting, when it was finished it was an unusual painting. Life-size portraits were only made for royalty and not for a simple kitchenmaid like this. For me this painting symbolizes the transition in Dutch art: no longer was the church and the king the main subject but the 'common man', something that had its peak in Dutch art from our Golden Age (the 17th century). Painting from 1559.