Christ in the House of Martha and Mary
The symbolic nature of this painting cannot be lost. Mary sits at the feet of our Lord while Martha busies herself seeing to the needs of those attending. When Martha chides Mary for doing nothing but sitting at the feet of our Lord, Christ gently rebukes her and states that Mary has indeed chosen the better part. The active life versus the contemplative life. Both are necessary but one is certainly better as it focuses on nothing but Christ.
Johannes Vermeer was a Dutch painter who specialized in domestic interior scenes of middle-class life. He was a moderately successful provincial genre painter in his lifetime but evidently was not wealthy, leaving his wife and children in debt at his death, perhaps because he produced relatively few paintings.