Iconoclasm: the reformation caused the purging of much religious art, in favor of secularized still lifes.
The painting depicting Jesus is known as The Entombment, by Moretto da Brescia. It was photographed in such a way as to emphasize the feeling of loss within the figures surrounding Jesus. The second picture is of a painting called Fish Market, by Joachim Beuckelaer. Its composition is such that the fish overwhelm the frame, indicating abundance. I photographed both pieces of art while at the MET in NYC.
The pale flesh of Jesus represents death in the corporeal world, but in the context my creation, the ghostly figure symbolizes the death of religious art. The hand of Jesus, which is being held in earnest by the figure in gold, is in the midst of transitioning into a new form. The new form is lifelike.
The new form of painting that appears post reformation, especially in Northern Europe, is one that depicts everyday life. Not only are the diurnal rhythms of society encapsulated by Joachim Beuckelaer, but the marketplace is also deftly highlighted. In Elizabeth Honig’s book Painting & the Market in Early Modern Antwerp (1998), she stresses the the interaction between painting and commerce. Paintings do not merely represent commercial activities but are commodities in and of themselves.