Pieter Aertsen and Studio, 'Christ Driving the Money-Changers from the Temple'

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Amsterdam, Northern-Netherlands
C. 1575
Oil on panel
29.5 cm
34 cm

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In Matthew 21:12–13, Jesus confronts the commercialization of the Temple during Passover, overturning tables and driving out money-changers and merchants. This dramatic act symbolizes his condemnation of the corruption within sacred spaces, asserting the Temple's intended purpose as a house of prayer. Drawing from Old Testament prophetic tradition, Jesus cites scripture to underscore the spiritual significance of the Temple and denounces the exploitation that had infiltrated it. This event provokes controversy among religious authorities and underscores Jesus' challenge to their authority. Beyond its immediate context, the cleansing of the Temple serves as a symbolic gesture of Jesus' larger mission: to usher in a new era of spiritual renewal and transformation. It foreshadows his ultimate sacrifice on the cross, offering redemption and reconciliation to humanity and emphasizing the centrality of genuine worship and devotion in the Christian faith.
This painting shares similarities with Pieter Aertsen's Christian deeds of mercy housed in the National Museum, Warsaw (1573). A significant portion of Aertsen's post-1560 paintings were likely created with studio assistance.


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