Internet Shakespeare Editions


Pieter Bruegel: ordinary people

The Fight between Carnival and Lent (Detail). Bruegel.
Kunsthistoriches Museum, Vienna.

A highly educated man moving in aristocratic circles, the Netherlands painter Pieter Bruegel created on canvas a vision of humanism that embraced the humble life of Dutch peasants and the landscape they inhabited.

Country people, their festivals and their sufferings*, form the human focus of most of his paintings. In the northern tradition, both his human figures and his landscapes are closely observed, and there is little tendency to idealize them--as the picture here with a Falstaffian Carnival attacking the thin old woman Lent with a giant shishkebob shows.

You can also view a painting of a peasant wedding by Bruegel:


  1. Not just a pretty picture

    Several of Bruegel's pictures show in brutal detail the devastation of disease and war. In this program one example is provided in a detail from The Fight between Carnival and Lent, where cripples are pictured. [Image available only on CD ROM, for copyright reasons.] (Click here to see it.)