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Artists Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Flemish Artist and Engraver

Pieter Bruegel the Elder Photo

Born: 1525-30 - Near Breda, Netherlands

Died: September 9, 1569 - Brussels, Belgium

"If he refused to portray humanity according to some ideal of formal beauty or in a light of a religious view of the universe, this is because he penetrated to the inner being of man and discovered its essential reality."


Pieter Bruegel the Elder was an artist of the Northern Renaissance whose visually engrossing paintings offer a celebration of the common mass of humanity, in contrast to the pious religious painting which dominated much Renaissance art of the previous century. Born in what is now the Netherlands in the 1520s, reputedly into a peasant family, his work focuses on themes such as rural working life, religion and superstition, and the political and social intrigues of his day. These themes were tackled with an unmistakable, droll and often grotesque humor, an interest in the collective over the individual, and a healthy skepticism for narratives of great deeds and men. From the Dutch Golden Age painters of the following century to the Realists of nineteenth-century France and beyond, any artist who has cast their eye over their subject with an honesty debunking mythology works in the spirit of the man sometimes known as "Peasant Bruegel".

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