Pieter Bruegel the Elder

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Landscape with the Flight into Egypt
Landscape with the Flight into Egypt by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525-1569) is considered the greatest Flemish painter of the 16th century. He is especially known for his landscapes and his depictions of peasant life. Some of his work also included religious themes.

Hunters in the Snow
Hunters in the Snow by Pieter Bruegel the Elder
The Census at Bethlehem
The Census at Bethlehem by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Here is a quick overview of his work:

In 1551 or 1552, he traveled to Italy, as was customary for northern European artists of the time, since Italy was the artistic center of Europe. During his travels he was exposed to landscapes so different from his home in the low country. His observations of the mountains are skillfully captured in his subsequent landscape paintings. (See the top two paintings above.)

His paintings often include many figures, each unique and none prettified.

The Wedding Dance
The Wedding Dance by Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Children's Games
Children’s Games by Pieter Bruegel the Elder
The Beekeepers
Beekeepers by Pieter Bruegel the Elder
The Peasant Wedding
The Peasant Wedding by Pieter Bruegel the Elder
The Peasant Dance
The Peasant Dance by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

What does it say about me that my favorite paintings of Bruegel’s are the ones that remind me of Hieronymus Bosch, one of Bruegel’s influences?

The Triumph of Death
The Triumph of Death by Pieter Bruegel the Elder
The Fall of the Rebel Angels
The Fall of the Rebel Angels by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Bruegel was an apprentice of Pieter Coecke van Aelst, and married Coecke’s daughter, Mayken, in 1563. They had two sons, Jan and Pieter, who also became painters. The sons are known as Pieter Bruegel the Younger (to distinguish him from his father) and Jan Bruegel the Elder (to distinguish him from his son, also a painter).

A video about a show of Bruegel’s work in 2018 in Vienna:

About Andrea R Huelsenbeck

Andrea R Huelsenbeck is a wife, a mother of five and a former elementary general music teacher. A freelance writer in the 1990s, her nonfiction articles and book reviews appeared in Raising Arizona Kids, Christian Library Journal, and other publications. She is currently working on a young adult mystical fantasy novel and a mystery.

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