bruegel, peasants, Proverbs & Landscapes

The Arts Society Torbay


A Lecture by Paula Nuttall

On May 9th, in this ‘superb lecture’, to quote a fellow member of the society, Dr Paula Nuttall demonstrated a depth of knowledge of the work of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, his world and his legacy.

Much of Bruegel’s life is an enigma. He left no writings of his own so no one knows of his motivation, attitudes or opinions. His popularity and income for much of his life depended on the engravings made from his drawings, often in the style of Bosch, with the great paintings for which he is now better known all coming after his move from Antwerp, the centre of the print market, to Brussels in 1563. Here, in the Court capital, there were more opportunities for patronage and Bruegel fulfilled commissions for high ranking administrators and wealthy merchants.

Later, several of these paintings were deemed worthy of being presented to the Hapsburg rulers by the Flemish people. Of the 29 genuine paintings known to be by Bruegel the Elder, all the great paintings were completed in the last six years of his life.

This was a profound and detailed insight into the work of this fascinating and highly original, yet enigmatic artist.