Netherlandish Proverbs, Pieter Bruegel: Analysis, Interpretation читать ~5 мин.Раздел в процессе наполнения и корректировки
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Netherlandish Proverbs by Pieter Bruegel Interpretation of Dutch Renaissance Moralistic Genre Painting MAIN A-Z INDEX
Netherlandish Proverbs (detail) By Pieter Bruegel.Seen as one of theGreatest Paintings Ever, and an expression ofProtestant Reformation Art.
ContentsDescription • Interpretation/Meaning of Netherlandish Proverbs • More Works By Bruegel
Description Artist : Pieter Bruegel (1525-69) Medium : Oil on oak panel Genre : Genre Painting Movement : Netherlandish Renaissance Museum : Gemaldegalerie SMPK, Berlin.
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This extraordinary work by Pieter "Peasant" Bruegel the Elder – one of the greatest Renaissance paintings in the manner of Hieronymus Bosch – was originally called The Blue Hood / Cloak or The Folly of the World, indicating that the artist’s intention was not simply to illustrate traditional sayings but rather to illustrate the universal stupidity of man. By 1558, Bruegel – already developing into one of the best genre painters in the Low Countries – had already completed a series of Twelve Proverbs on individual panels, as well as Big Fish Eat Little Fish in 1556, but Netherlandish Proverbs is thought to be the first large scale representation of the genre in Flemish painting. The proverbs in question are of two types: those which turn reason on its head, thus demonstrating the absurdity of much of our behaviour; and more serious proverbs illustrating the dangers of folly, which leads to sin. Following in the moralistic (albeit more humanistic) tradition of Bosch, Bruegel offers us a topsy-turvy world, with the Devil seen in the centre of the painting hearing confession. Both the artist and his son, Pieter Bruegel the Younger, made several copies of Netherlandish Proverbs, but not all versions show exactly the same proverbs.
A Form of Protestant Religious Art Like his other moralistic and highly detailed panel paintings, including The Fight Between Carnival and Lent (1559), and Children’s Games (1560) – both in the Kunsthistoriches Museum, Vienna – Netherlandish Proverbs features a Lilliputian swarm of miniature men, women, children and animals acting out selected instances of wisdom or folly. In keeping with the less indulgent (and less overt) religious art of the Protestant Northern Renaissance, it is Bruegel’s view of contemporary society – one characterized by a keen sense of the grotesque, the tragicomic and the sinful: the inescapable result of the Fall. Like several other Northern Renaissance artists of the 16th century Dutch School, Bruegel’s work demonstrates his mastery of oil painting, his handling of colour pigments, and his creative compositional flair.
Collection of Proverbs The Netherlandish language of Bruegel’s time was even richer in proverbs than it is today. And Netherlanders have always been fond of such repositories of human wisdom. Erasmus’ Adagia were first published in 1500 and contained about 800 items; they conveyed the blessings of the greatest humanist upon a popular collecting phase and were soon reprinted with a vastly increased number of entries. Proverbs have a way of unmasking human folly, and Erasmus was magnetically drawn to this aspect of them as Bruegel was to be. Proverbs also have a way of being ambiguous, multi-faceted, and Bruegel shared with many of his contemporaries a distinct preference for these properties – the typically Mannerism preference for the ambigious, the enigmatic, the hidden meanings, which our own age has rediscovered and awarded such wide (and often misguided) acclaim. Several of the proverbs represented in the Berlin picture have disappeared from usage; others are ambivalent; others again may intrigue us primarily because they have no clear English equivalent. One has to know that a ’pillar-bitter’ is a hypocrite and that she who puts a blue hood over her husband makes him a cuckold; and here one fills the well/pond after the calf has been drowned in it, instead of locking the barn door after the horse has bolted.
Features: Colour Scheme While the accumulation of proverbs was a widespread literally device and had also been tried in visual representations, Bruegel’s picture of 1559 is the first that united about 100 of them in one comprehensive spatial setting, a true ’proverb country’ even though this setting is more psycological rather than realistically plausible. The success of the composition is perhaps due more to the subtle and amazingly successful colour scheme than to the distribution of figures and architecture, for which Bruegel may have availed himself of the precedent set by Hieronymus Bosch in a Last Judgement engraved by Hieronymus Cock. The combination of strong reds and blues marks decisive points of main structure throughout, and these set the pace from the iconographic point of view as well, since they demarcate scenes of folly and sin.