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Christ in the House of Martha and Mary. Detail, Oil by Diego Velazquez (1599-1660, Spain)
Kitchen Scene in the House of Martha and Mary dates from Velázquez's Seville period, painted shortly after he completed his apprenticeship with Pacheco. At this time, Velázquez was experimenting with the potential of the bodegone, a form of painting which was frequently used to relate scenes of contemporary Spain to themes and stories from the Bible. Often they contained depictions of people working with food and drink. In this case, Velázquez has painted the interior of a kitchen with two half-length women to the left (one an old woman who appeared in his Old Woman Cooking Eggs from the same period). On the table are a number of foods, perhaps the ingredients of an Alioli (a garlic mayonnaise made to accompany fish). These have been prepared by the maid. Extremely realistic, they were probably painted from the artist's own household as they appear in other bodegones from the same time. The foods are shown prepared in ways typical of Spanish cookery at the time. His painstaking attention to detail show how important Velázquez considered it to represent realistic scenes.