The Fight Between Carnival and Lent (1559) by Pieter Bruegel

The Fight Between Carnival and Lent - Pieter Bruegel - 1559

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Artwork Information

TitleThe Fight Between Carnival and Lent
ArtistPieter Bruegel
MediumOil on Panel
Dimensions118 x 164.5 cm
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationKunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria
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About The Fight Between Carnival and Lent

Pieter Bruegel’s painting, The Fight Between Carnival and Lent, is a remarkable portrayal of the transition from Shrove Tuesday to Lent in the Southern Netherlands. He produced this work of art in Antwerp in 1559, during a time when traditions underlying Twelfth Night customs had been suppressed. Bruegel’s work depicts nearly 200 characters indicative of contemporary life, viewed from a top-down perspective. This composition forms part of his Wimmelbilder or busy pictures style where one can observe different people carrying out various activities.

The painting has often been interpreted as a triumph for Lent over Carnival. Bruegel’s interest in everyday lives was on the rise at this period which culminated in some of his most famous canvases. Jan Brueghel, his second son, became an important figure who helped transition Dutch Baroque-style paintings into Northern realistic or naturalistic portrayals of daily life that distinguish it from other techniques used at the time.

Since Pieter Bruegel’s death, The Fight Between Carnival and Lent continues to be regarded as one of his most coveted works globally due to its harmony between divine pleasures and street delights shown all at once while still preserving each character as distinct individuals intertwined excellently within vibrant colors by which Bruegel was recognized for.

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