High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

Out and about with Bruegel
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Out and about with Bruegel

(Manfred Sellink) The Low Countries - 2006, № 14, pp. 58-64

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Pieter Bruegel the Elder may be seen as one of the few artists who for centuries have played a role in determining the perception and image of Flanders. Whether historically accurate or not, many people – and certainly not only foreigners – still associate the southern Low Countries with the stereotype of ‘Boeren-bruegel', or ‘Peasant Bruegel': the world seen as one great gluttonous feast, complete with food, drink and dance, in picturesque, slightly chaotic villages in the countryside. However interesting it may be to speculate about the extent to which the image and the self-image of ‘the' Fleming flow into each other, in this article I would like to draw attention to a completely different aspect of Bruegel's work, one that is closer to the historical reality of his time, which can perhaps bring us closer to the figure of the artist, who is often difficult to get a handle on, and which at the same time can also provide us with the necessary information about the artistic and intellectual climate that he lived in. This article follows the artist on his journeys and excursions in Flanders and far beyond.

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