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.
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.
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?
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: