Among the splendid Flemish painting of the 16th century, Pieter Brueghel the Elder is considered the greatest artist. A painter capable of creating a style and also a whole dynasty of artists who would continue to work for two centuries.
His style is initially based on the rich tradition ofFlemish artof the 15th century, and with a special influence from the most personal of those artists such as wasBosch. But he soon adopted another key influence in his career: that ofItalian art, a country he traveled to and was dazzled by.
Noble Visitors to a Peasant's House by Brueghel the Elder
The truth is that Brueghel (originally Bruegel) painted all kinds of subjects, from religious art to landscape painting, including moral scenes. But where he really stood out is in painting set in peasant themes. A group that he generally portrays more in a festive attitude than working. And a good example of this is his work Children's Games or the famous Village Wedding held by theKunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
Well, in that same museum in the Austrian capital there is this other work by Noble Visitors in the House of Peasants. A painting he made in 1560.
As in many other of his costumbrista works, he represents a work environment for us, althoughrelatively bucolic. And as always with different comic notes, such as the dog that in the background is waiting for its owner to give it something to eat. Some elements that reflect the artist's enormous capacity for observation, as well as his intention to reveal to us the great importance of the simplest pleasures. Although we must not forget that they are paintings about peasants painted by someone who did not belong to that social group and that they were intended to be sold to bourgeois and noblemen, so there is also a certain condescension in these types of scenes.
A good example of this is this work in which he fuses the two social classes, the nobles and the peasants. The contrast between some characters and others is more than clear, especially because of the clothes and the attitude. The nobles watch calmly, while the peasants are living in a relatively chaotic environment. Some work, another eats, a woman in the foreground breast-feeds her baby and warms it over the fire… This contrast is clear with another couple in the foreground, in which a child in a simple white nightgown waits for the elegantly dressed lady take a coin out of your bag.
The set can convey various ideas to us. One that the peasants, although they must work, do not lack for anything. Another that his life is very lively, even in his dress, if we compare the tones of the clothes between rich and poor. And finally, regarding the nobles, are they generous with the peasants or is their idle life really sad? Or are they amazed at how it is possible to live like this, without any order andworking continuously? The interpretations are various.