Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Hidden inside a Bruegel

Vienna is marking the 450th anniversary of the death of Pieter Bruegel with an exhibition of 87 of his works. 

One of the paintings, entitled  “The Battle Between Carnival and Lent,” shows a busy city scene that contrasts the secular and religious life, with the inn on one side and the church on the other.

According to the New York Times, researchers using X-ray photography to peel back the layers of the painting have discovered that the image was sanitized at some point: macabre or provocative details have been painted over to make the image more innocuous. 

At an earlier stage of the painting, a cross on a long-handled peel was replaced with a pair of fish (above). In another part of the painting, a corpse in a cart was obscured with a drape, and a dead body on the ground was removed.
"[Bruegel] showed us a comic, violent, and sometimes ugly universe of common folk at a time that the Spanish Inquisition was sweeping Europe in the 16th century. On his death bed, Bruegel advised his wife to burn his drawings, for fear “that they were too caustic or derisory, either because he was sorry” or because she might get in trouble with the authorities, according to a 1604 biography by Karel van Mander. Was he afraid of retribution because his drawings were too subversive?"
Read more:
New York Times: Peeling Back the Paint to Discover Bruegel’s Secrets
The exhibition "Bruegel" will be up at the Kunsthistorisches Museum through January 13, 2019.
Book: Pieter Bruegel: The Complete Works
"The Battle Between Carnival and Lent" on Wikipedia


Roberto Quintana said...

I'm pretty sure I can see 'Waldo' way back there in the crowd, on the left, behind the guy in the purple dino-suit.
And I'm sure that guy in the red tights has no pants on in the black and white photo! -RQ

Roberto Quintana said...

(Click-Bait Alert?)
Sorry to disappoint you... but it really DOES look like he has lost his britches! -RQ