Pieter Breughel the Elder (1525-1569) part 2

Another one of my favorite works by Pieter Breughel the Elder is this work: Netherlandish Proverbs. They say that their are around 112 (!) different Dutch proverbs hidden in this painting. All people and objects you see in this painting have a proverbial meaning. The sun in the painting refers to the proverb “Everything, however finely spun, finally comes to the sun” (niemand zo fijn iets spon, of het kwam aan het licht der zon). It means something like nothing can be concealed forever eventually things will come out. This painting is just like Icaros fall a painting that amused the uneducated with funny or naughty details (if you look at the window of the closest house you will even see a guy taking a crap (!) to refer to the proverb to not give a shit about the world) For the educated it was just like Icaros Fall a visual riddle. It was a way of showing of how smart and in the know one was by being able to read between the lines and guess which proverbs the painter referred to. This painting must have been really popular because Pieter Breughels son has painted at least 16 copies of it. That doesn’t sounds like much to us in the era of massproduction, but back than it took alot more time and effort to (re)produce an artwork and not every painter was prepared to do the same painting over and over again.

Posted in Sun

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