Title

Pieter Bruegel the Elder's Series of the Months: A Celebration of Dutch Humanity Amidst Religious Turmoil

Description/Abstract/Artist Statement

Pieter Bruegel the Elder was one the most influential Flemish painters to come out of the Northern Renaissance. He is best known for his impact on genre painting; particularly those focused on the Flemish landscape and the daily lives of peasants. In 1565, Bruegel executed a series of paintings as a commission for the merchant Niclaes Jongelinck, titled the Series of the Months. Five of the paintings in the series are known, Hunters in the Snow, Gloomy Day, Haymaking, The Harvesters, and Return of the Herd. The series is based on a medieval tradition of painting the Labors of the Months as calendar illuminations although it has been traditionally regarded as secular in nature. Upon closer examination of each painting, religious imagery begins to emerge in the details. Not only can imagery of Christianity be found, but also aspects of rural Paganism and Neostoicism can also be found. Embedded as they are within a larger landscape, these aspects are somewhat hidden as Bruegel, conscious as he was about the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, avoids giving any of them an overt role. These small details, the viewpoint of the paintings, as well as the role the series played in Jongelinck’s home all encourage engagement with the viewer. The iconography within the paintings, however, when examined against the backdrop of the Counter-Reformation all show that the Series of the Months functioned as visual aids to spiritual ends and highlighted the Netherlands connection to both local folklore and Christian religions.

Presenting Author Name/s

Kayla Bruce

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Anne Muraoka

College Affiliation

College of Arts & Letters

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Disciplines

Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture

Session Title

Art History 1: The Art of Transformation

Location

Zoom

Start Date

3-19-2022 1:00 PM

End Date

3-19-2022 2:00 PM

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Mar 19th, 1:00 PM Mar 19th, 2:00 PM

Pieter Bruegel the Elder's Series of the Months: A Celebration of Dutch Humanity Amidst Religious Turmoil

Zoom

Pieter Bruegel the Elder was one the most influential Flemish painters to come out of the Northern Renaissance. He is best known for his impact on genre painting; particularly those focused on the Flemish landscape and the daily lives of peasants. In 1565, Bruegel executed a series of paintings as a commission for the merchant Niclaes Jongelinck, titled the Series of the Months. Five of the paintings in the series are known, Hunters in the Snow, Gloomy Day, Haymaking, The Harvesters, and Return of the Herd. The series is based on a medieval tradition of painting the Labors of the Months as calendar illuminations although it has been traditionally regarded as secular in nature. Upon closer examination of each painting, religious imagery begins to emerge in the details. Not only can imagery of Christianity be found, but also aspects of rural Paganism and Neostoicism can also be found. Embedded as they are within a larger landscape, these aspects are somewhat hidden as Bruegel, conscious as he was about the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, avoids giving any of them an overt role. These small details, the viewpoint of the paintings, as well as the role the series played in Jongelinck’s home all encourage engagement with the viewer. The iconography within the paintings, however, when examined against the backdrop of the Counter-Reformation all show that the Series of the Months functioned as visual aids to spiritual ends and highlighted the Netherlands connection to both local folklore and Christian religions.