Netherlandish Proverbs (1559) by Pieter Bruegel

Netherlandish Proverbs - Pieter Bruegel - 1559

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Artwork Information

TitleNetherlandish Proverbs
ArtistPieter Bruegel
MediumOil on Panel
Dimensions117 x 163 cm
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationGemäldegalerie, Berlin, Germany
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About Netherlandish Proverbs

Pieter Bruegel’s Netherlandish Proverbs is a renowned masterpiece painting created in 1559. The artwork comprises of over 100 Dutch proverbs depicted through earthy depictions of peasant life. This piece is often referred to as the ultimate example of a painting that utilizes humorous illustrations to poke fun at society, expressing human folly with dry wit and satire. Bruegel masterfully crafted and hid his proverbs into the various buildings and landscape scattered throughout the frame.

The painting depicts a village bustling with activity, filled with numerous quirky figures within every corner of the panel, creating expansive landscapes using primary colors amid everyday scenes from rural Netherlands life during his period. Despite being painted centuries ago, this artwork remains significant due to its relevant commentary on aspects of modern society.

Bruegel’s artwork was not only artistic but intellectual; he intended to catalog human foolishness rather than simply illustrate common sayings or phrases. Thus, by looking at Netherlandish Proverbs through an analytic lens, one can identify an array of cultural mediums encompassed within it beyond merely depicting literal proverbs. Overall, this painting remains prevalent both in art history but also as insightful commentary in today’s world for how we view culture and our own interactions within it.

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