The Tower of Babel (1563) by Pieter Bruegel

The Tower of Babel - Pieter Bruegel - 1563

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Artwork Information

TitleThe Tower of Babel
ArtistPieter Bruegel
MediumOil on Panel
Dimensions114 x 155 cm
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationKunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria
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About The Tower of Babel

Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s painting, “The Tower of Babel,” depicts the story of a biblical construction project in 1563. Bruegel created three versions of the painting, but only two have survived to this day, housed in Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. The artwork is categorized as a religious history painting in the Northern Renaissance style and is an accurate representation of Dutch paintings during that century.

“The Tower Of Babel” presents intricate details and provides viewers with many features to explore. The architectural complexity and detail capture every stone that makes up Babylon’s bustling cityscape. It shows people struggling under heavy loads on their way towards the monument they are building for unified humanity.

The tower was built by a monolingual humanity seeking unity during times when people had excellent technical skills but suffered due to communication barriers with other cultures. However, God confused their tongues to prevent further progress on this massive construction project, leading them to stop understanding one another and scattering from Babylon. “The Tower Of Babel” remained Bruegel’s most famous composition because he masterfully depicted what could have been considered an impossible narrative using artistic techniques without deviating from its sacred scriptural meaning.

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