Pieter Bruegel Parables of Order and Enterprise

Cambridge University Press

This title investigates the artist's depictions of folkloric themes and the visual structures that the artist used to maximize effective communication between painter and viewer. Arguing that Bruegel's depictions of popular fables address issues of social transformation and conflict, Ethan Matt Kavaler demonstrates that they affirm the ideal of a stable, hierarchical society, an ethos opposed to a culture increasingly oriented toward business. The author draws a detailed picture of the evolving world in which Bruegel worked using a wide assortment of images and writings, including legal handbooks, popular theater, costume books, personal correspondence, emblem books, and alba amicorum. Also examined is the role of Antwerp as a center for the arts and home to an intellectual and commercial elite, who, ironically, were the owners of Bruegel's pictures of peasants.

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