the Elder

1525 - 1569


Peasants, Fools and Demons


Renaissance Art Map
Pieter Bruegel the Elder  Peasants, Fools and Demons
    A Brief Life in Dangerous Times
    Antwerp: a Booming City
    The Holy Family in the Snow
    Exploring the World
    Demons in Our Midst
    Village Life
    Nature as Man's Environment
    Not only Peasants
    Pieter the Droll?
    Life and Work





Dominicus Lamponius

Portrait of Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Pieter Bruegel c. 1525-1569  Life and Work




Milites requiescentes


1525 Pieter Bruegel's year of birth is unknown; it presumably lay somewhere between 1525 and 1530. Nor do we know where he was born, but it was probably in Breda, in the north of Brabant.

1527 Birth of Philip II of Habsburg, son of Emperor Charles V, to whose family belong not only Spain but also the Netherlands.

1528 Death of Albrecht Durer: birth of Paolo Caliari, known as Veronese.

1540 Michelangelo paints The Last Judgement in Rome. Gerhard Mercator, the most important Netherlands cartographer along with Abraham Ortelius (later Bruegel's friend), publishes his "Globus Terrae".

1545 Bruegel probably studies under Pieter Coeck van Aelst in Antwerp, until 1550.


Mountain landscape with a deep valley


1550 Bruegel at work on a (lost) altar for the Mecheln glovers' guild.

1551 "Peeter Brueghels" is accepted as a master into the Antwerp artists' guild, the Guild of St. Luke.

1552 (or 1551) Bruegel travels via Lyons to Italy, returning over the Swiss Alps. While in Rome, he is believed to have worked together with Giulio Clovio, the miniaturist.

1556 Bruegel produces drawings in Antwerp for Hieronymus Cock's printing shop, "The Four Winds". Among works of his to be printed there are The Big Fish Eating the Little Fish and The Ass in the School.

1557 A series of seven engravings with the Deadly Sins follows.

1559 A series of seven engravings with the Virtues appears. The painter changes the way he spells his name, signing himself no longer Brueghel but Bruegel. He paints The Fight between Carnival and Lent.
King Philip II of Spain, successor since 1556 of Charles V. leaves the Netherlands, where he has been dwelling for some considerable time, never to return. He makes Madrid his seat of government. Margaret of Parma, his half-sister, is appointed Regent of the Netherlands. The Netherlander demand the removal of Spanish troops.


Prospectus Tyburtinus


1560 The dissection of corpses, previously forbidden by the Church, is henceforth permitted for research purposes.

1562 Bruegel paints The Fall of the Rebel Angels, The Suicide of Saul and Two Monkeys, among other works. He probably travels to Amsterdam, and thereafter settles in Brussels.

1563 The wedding takes place in the Brussels Church of Notre-Dame de la Cha-pelle between "Peeter brugel" and "Mayken cocks", the latter the daughter of the painter's former teacher, Pieter Coeck.
The Netherlands refuse to pay King Philip higher taxes.

1564 Birth of his son Pieter (later known as "Hell" Bruegel)


Insidiosus auceps (The Crafty Bird Catcher


1565 The paintings of the months or seasons are executed.

1566 The Antwerp merchant Nicolas Jong-helinck hands over 39 paintings to the city as surety; 16 of the works are by Bruegel (The Tower of Babel, The Procession to Calvary and The Twelve Months.) Religious fanatics, carrying out the so-called "breaking of the images", plunder churches and monasteries.

1567 King Philip II despatches Duke Alba with 60,000 soldiers. Margaret of Parma resigns as Regent. Alba's "Council of Troubles" sentences 8,000 Netherlands "rabble-rousers" to death; Counts Egmont and Hoorne are arrested.

1568 Birth of the artist's second son, Jan (later known as "Velvet" Bruegel). Bruegel paints The Parable of the Blind, The Magpie on the Gallows, The Misanthrope, The Peasant and the Birdnester, The Cripples and Storm at Sea. Egmont and Hoorne are executed.

1569 Pieter Bruegel dies, supposedly on 5 December. He is buried in the Church of Notre-Dame dc la Chapelle in Brussels. Open rebellion by the Netherlanders against Spain.

1604 Carel van Mander publishes Het Schilderboeck, a description of various artists and their works, among which are those by Pieter Brueeel the Elder.


Pagus nemorosus



Alpine landscape



Alpine landscape



Landscape with a castle on a rock



Landscape with a town



Landscape with an artist sketching



Landscape with two mules


Rocky landscape with a castle


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