2480. The mural was one of those crowd scenes so popular in the Renaissance in which groups of people throng together in order to see some religious event taking place, the skinning alive of some saint for example. The crowd provides the painter with ample opportunities to show off his skills.
2481. Here you might see an old woman on the way to the market,
unaware of the drama going on, she drags a young boy by the arm who
strains backward to looking over his shoulder to get a glimpse of what
is happening. His sister of the same age is self-absorbed in carefully
examining a bird she has by a string in her hand.
2482. Right behind this group are some angry young men
brandishing their weapons, their faces distorted with rage, are shouting
something at someone, and beyond them some indifferent spectators
wondering what the commotion is all about.
2483. Each portrait is an opportunity to reward some rich donor who has given to the church and so the old woman might be the wife of an important cloth importer, and the boy and the girl are his grandchildren. The master worries that the merchant will not be happy with his grandchildren’s portraits, because grandparents never are.