World History Seminar
The Hunters in The Snow
By: Pieter “The Elder” Bruegel
Pieter Bruegel was the most prominent artists of the Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting. Bruegel accomplished a lot in his short life. Born sometime around 1525 in Breda, Bruegel was born into an extremely large family of artist that had been active and successful for four generations. Bruegel settled into Antwerp—The main publishing center of the Netherlands—where he became a master artist in the painters’ Guild of Saint Luke between 1551 and 1552. Bruegel was an extremely inventive painter, bringing a humanizing spirit to traditional subjects. Between 1555 and 1563. Pieter Bruegel lived at a time when northern art was strongly influenced by Italian characteristic, but Bruegel made over forty designs for engravings making money on the huge demand for images in the style of Hieronymus Bosch, a gothic style that he deliberately revived. Bruegel even attributed some of his work such as Big Fish eat Little Fish to Bosch in Cock’s print, although all subsequent engravings were inscribed with “Bruegel Inventor.” Bruegel was largely inspired by Bosch. In Bruegel's earliest signed and dated painting, the Combat of Carnival and Lent (1559), the influence of Bosch was strongly felt using a high-horizoned landscape, the way the surface was patterned in a decorative way and a lot of use of detail all attributed to Bosch. Bruegel was also known for his landscapes and peasant scenes. He earned himself the nickname ‘peasant Bruegel’ because of his extremely common depictions of peasant life and doings of the common people in extreme detail. Along with this nickname came the misguided assumption that he was of low birth but being a Renaissance man proved him to be quite the opposite, not only was he born into an artist family and a master in a painters guild but, he was also patronized mainly by scholars, wealthy businessmen, and connoisseurs, and was on friendly terms with some of the most prominent humanists of the Netherlands, including the cartographer Abraham Ortelius and the publisher Christoph Plantin. Bruegel produced hundreds of pieces of art some of which include paintings like, The Peasants Wedding, The Tower of Babel, Children’s Games, and The Harvester and after a well accomplished life, he passed away in 1569 at the age of 44. He was survived by his sons Pieter Brueghel the Younger and Jans Brueghel the Elder.
Bruegel created the piece The Hunters in The Snow in 1565 as part of a series called the Months of the Year Cycle. The piece along with all the other pieces in the series were created to represent the different seasons of the year. Of the 12 pieces created in this series only 5 survive today. The painting itself is an oil on wood. This painting offers us a Birds eye / 3rd person view of a wintry scene
Wisse, Jacob. “Pieter Bruegel the Elder (ca. 1525–1569).” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/brue/hd_brue.htm (October 2002)
Dr. David Boffa, "Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Hunters in the Snow (Winter)," in Smarthistory, December 11, 2015, accessed November 16, 2018, https://smarthistory.org/pieter-bruegel-the-elder-hunters-in-the-snow-winter/..
“Biography of Pieter the Elder Bruegel.” Pieter the Elder Bruegel - The Complete Works - Biography, www.pieter-bruegel-the-elder.org/biography.htm