Pieter Brueghel the Elder and The Hunters in the Snow

Pieter Brueghel the Elder and The Hunters in the Snow

             Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1525 – 1569) was born in Breda.  It is uncertain if it was the Dutch town of Breda or the Belgian town of Bree.  He was both a painter and printmaker. “Like Bosch Brueghel was concerned with Human folly; like Durer, he had traveled to Italy and embraced the Humanism of the Renaissance.” [Fiero 235]  His style built on the style of the Limbourg brothers.

            His genre paintings depicted everyday life of ordinary people.  It is rumored that Brueghel would disguise himself as a peasant to gain access to weddings and other celebrations to be able to accurately depict peasant life.  This practice earned him the nickname “Peasant Bruegel.  “Brueghel’s genre paintings … were not small-scale renderings but monumental transcriptions of rural activities sometimes infused with symbolic meanings.” [Fiero 235]

            One of Brueghel’s best-known and highly regarded paintings is The Hunters in the Snow (1565, oil on wood, 46” x 63 ¾”, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna).  The painting is part of a series depicting different times of the year.  Only five of the original six paintings still exist.  It is speculated that an additional six paintings in the series likely existed. 

            The painting depicts two unsuccessful hunters returning to their village with their pack of dogs.  It is a winter scene with barren trees, the ground is now covered, and ponds are iced over.  People appear to be skating on the ice.  There is a great deal of depth to the painting and detail in background.

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4 Responses to “Pieter Brueghel the Elder and The Hunters in the Snow”

  1. Zach Sayers Says:

    I love Brueghel. He is one of the best examples of Northern (Protestant) Renaissance Artists! Well done!

  2. theparasiticbandaid Says:

    this piece sure captures winter with the colors. a lot of cool colors especially greys and blues but that little bit of red in the houses and dogs i think is just enough to keep the greys from washing each other out

  3. maylathc Says:

    I really like the detail in the trees with the “hunters in the snow” painting. He did a great job on depicting the hunter in a more “cartoonish” way that brings out his choice of colors. Great choice!

  4. Olivia Spadlowski Says:

    I love the colors in this painting. There is such a sense of danger and forlorning.

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