Pieter Bruegel the Elder

By snurfson / Posted on 23 December 2010

Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525 –1569) is generally considered the greatest Flemish painter of the 16th century.

He developed an original style that uniformly holds narrative, or story-telling, meaning. In subject matter he ranged widely, from conventional Biblical scenes and parables of Christ to such mythological portrayals as Landscape with the Fall of Icarus; religious allegories in the style of Hieronymus Bosch; and social satires. But it was in nature that he found his greatest inspiration. His mountain landscapes have few parallels in European art.

Most of his paintings retain a Medieval fascination with details and the complicated narrative they create. Their compositions lack any single focal point, but are what we would today call ‘fields,’ made up of many competing figures and objects, all rendered more or less equally, and requiring the viewer—not the artist—to select what is important to focus on. The themes of the paintings range from the everyday to the allegorical, the mundane to the metaphysical. Even these differences, however, are treated with equanimity, as though they were all in the same measure simply parts of life.

The Tower of Babel

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus

The Fall of the Rebel Angels

The Triumph of Death

Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap





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