the Elder

1525 - 1569


Peasants, Fools and Demons


Renaissance Art Map
Pieter Bruegel the Elder  Peasants, Fools and Demons
    A Brief Life in Dangerous Times
    Antwerp: a Booming City
    The Holy Family in the Snow
    Exploring the World
    Demons in Our Midst
    Village Life
    Nature as Man's Environment
    Not only Peasants
    Pieter the Droll?
    Life and Work






Nature as Man's Environment




Quite the opposite is true of the picture Haymaking (c. 1565). The range of colours is richer, white being used solely for a horse and for clothes, while the landscape is displayed in many shades of yellow, green and blue, with the fruit and articles of clothing in the foreground even painted bright red. Bruegel also uses landscape forms to render seasons (and the feelings we associate with them) visible. Large areas of the landscape in the picture of winter are flat, as though pressed down and deadened by the ice and snow. In the case of early summer, on the other hand, he depicts a varied, rolling, hilly landscape; he has even animated the sky, painting it not as a monochrome surface but bright above the horizon and a rich blue at the upper edge, and also adding clouds. This comparison reveals the means employed by Bruegel - in addition to the concrete details - to heighten the impression of the harshness of winter or the vitality of early summer.
The painter even makes use of the figures to characterize the seasons. In the one instance, weary hunters with drooping shoulders are turning their backs upon the observer. In the other, three young women are energetically striding past the observer, one of them even looking straight at him. If one takes the group of women together with that formed by the three basket-carriers, one might even be tempted to think of a dance-like arrangement, of choreography. Such rhythm is rare in Bruegel's art; it, too, reinforces the impression of vitality and joy of living in harmony with Nature.



c. 1565




The Limbourg brothers:
The Month of March from the
"Tres Riches Heures du due de Berry"
c. 1415

The books of hours owned by nobles characterized the months through work in the fields or aristocratic amusements. Castle buildings in the background served to draw attention to the lord of the manor. In the case of Bruegel's paintings, the picture is dominated by nature, with the workers an element of it.


Haymaking (detail)
c. 1565

It was a part of understanding and studying nature that one come to appreciate more closely the differences between the various seasons. Bruegel succeeded in this in a highly individual manner.




Haymaking (detail)
c. 1565


Haymaking (detail)
c. 1565



Parable of the Sower


Solicitudo Rustica


Discuss Art

Please note: site admin does not answer any questions. This is our readers discussion only.

| privacy