Bruegel’s Winter Scenes Historians and Art Historians in Dialogue

Tine Luk Meganck & Sabine van Sprang, 2018, 248 p.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder is today best known for his peasant paintings and winter scenes. Of these, Winter Landscape with Skaters and Bird Trap (1565) and the Census at Bethlehem (1566) – belong to the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium.
Winter Landscape with Skaters is Bruegel's most-copied work, not only by his sons Pieter the Younger and Jan the Elder, but also by many anonymous followers up until the end of the seventeenth century. This focused volume presents a deep exploration and new interpretations of the winter scenes of Pieter Bruegel the Elder (ca. 1525–1569), in particular the Brussels panels. By applying new methodological approaches and interdisciplinary research to these masterpieces of Flemish Renaissance art, the book offers an enhanced understanding of the painter’s relationship to his time and the extent to which his winter scenes were meant to reflect real-life situations. After tracing how these paintings have been understood over time, the essays propose new insights into such issues as whether Bruegel depicts the plight of the local populace during winter and whether the Census at Bethlehem challenges or reaffirms central power structures. Abundantly illustrated, Bruegel’s Winter Scenes is both a thorough examination and a celebration of these widely admired images.

Contributors: Erik Aerts; Claire Billen; Wim Blockmans; Hilde Cuvelier; Chloé Deligne; Jelle De Rock; Ethan Matt Kavaler; Michael Limberger; Tine Luk Meganck; Anne-Laure Van Bruaene; Sabine van Sprang

Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium | Mercatorfonds
ISBN 978-94-6230-223-5