Christ in the House of Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42)

Paolo Gerolamo Piola Italian

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The story is told in the Gospel according to St. Luke (10:38-42). In the course of a journey with his disciples, Jesus was welcomed into the house of a woman named Martha. While she was busy with the preparations of a meal, her sister Mary sat at the Lord's feet, listening to his words instead of helping with the household tasks. This stately tableau was no doubt intended for a monumental wall fresco. It could be associated with Piola's decorations in the church of Santa Marta in Genoa. However, in the picture in the church, the figures are reduced in number and the composition has a vertical axis. Paolo Gerolamo was a Geonese painter who specialized in rather lighthearted decorative frescoes for churches and palaces. This solemn composition is something of an exception in his work, and it reveals the classicizing influence of Carlo Maratta, with whom he studied in Rome.

Christ in the House of Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42), Paolo Gerolamo Piola (Italian, Genoa 1666–1724 Genoa), Brush and brown wash, highlighted with white, over black chalk, on blue-green paper

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