Clara, one of the National Gallery’s Young Producers, presents a 10-minute talk about Joachim Beuckelaer’s ‘The Four Elements: Fire’.
This is one of a set of four pictures which take as their theme the four elements of ’Earth’, ’Water’, ’Air’ and ’Fire’.
In the art of the Low Countries in the later 16th and 17th centuries it became common to symbolise the elements by references to the natural world.
Here, seductive representations of market produce for sale or for cooking are combined with relevant Biblical episodes.
Fire is one of Beuckelaer’s most ambitious works, combining the still life of haunches of meat and poultry being prepared for cooking on the fire beyond with a dramatic use of perspective constructions involving multiple vanishing points.
Beyond the kitchen Christ is shown seated with Martha and Mary.
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The National Gallery houses the national collection of paintings in the Western European tradition from the 13th to the 19th centuries. The museum is free of charge and open 361 days per year, daily between 10.00 am – 6.00 pm and on Fridays between 10.00 am – 9.00 pm.
Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN