Maerten van Valckenborch
The construction of the Tower of Babel
Louvain 1535-1612 Frankfort
Oil on panel 73 x 106 cm.
Signed with monogram MVVF, dated 15.. lower left on the rocks
According to Karel van Mander, Marten learned to paint landscapes in Malines, which town was a centre for oil and water-colours
and especially landscape painting. At the time of the Beeldenstorm in 1566, he left5 the town with his nephew Lucas. The made a trip
from Liège to Aachen along the river Meuse, painting river valley views. When William the Silent turned against the Spanish, they
returned to the Netherlands were they made many small clever pieces that sold well. In 1586, Marten moved to Frankfort.
His sons Frederick and Gillis were painters too.
Babel, biblical capitol of Babylon, is still famous for its legendary tower. The tower dates from the time everyone spoke the same language.
Some of them travelled east to start a new life. When they arrived at the Shinar plain, they decided to build their houses and to stay there.
As they were experienced workers, they devised a plan to build a whole town. Crown of their work would be a tower, exceeding any other building,
up to the sky. This would give them divine status. But God got angry at this outward appearance of pride ant to punish them he got their language confused.
From then on they could not understand one another and people got spread all over the world.
The place where the city would have been built, was called Babel, which means confusion.