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Born in 1508 or 1509 in Amsterdam; buried there June 3, 1575. Dutch painter.
Aertsen, who worked in Amsterdam and Antwerp from 1535 to 1555, was one of the founders of democratic genre painting in Netherlandish art. He combined elements from Italian mannerism (monumental figures, elongate proportions, affected gestures and poses, and dramatic spatial changes) with the traditions of old Netherlandish painting, which brought out the innate dignity of ordinary objects. Aertsen’s genre paintings (The Cook, 1559, Museum of Ancient Art, Brussels) and the genre motifs in his religious scenes (Christ in the House of Martha, 1559, Museum of Ancient Art, Brussels) are often permeated by moralistic symbolism, reflecting the tense religious and social struggle that took place in the Netherlands in the 16th century.