Mad Meg 450 years later
2019 marks the 450th anniversary of the death of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, one of the greatest and most beloved painters of Northern Europe. Leading up to this year of festivities, conservators have been hard at work restoring Bruegel’s masterpiece, Dulle Griet (Mad Meg, 1563). By cleaning the surface, removing added paint layers, and using specialized equipment to examine the work, experts were able to make new and surprising discoveries. Top among them? That looped inscription of “Dul”, relating to the name of this figure from Flemish folklore, Dulle Griet (or “Mad Meg”), was not part of Bruegel’s original, lowermost preparatory layer, as previously thought, but appears only in the top layer of the paint along with other surface scratches. Not only were these scratches added to the painting after its completion, but they may not have even been intentional! Nonetheless, Bruegel’s subject was recognized as Dulle Griet, a known caricature of a greedy, aggressive woman who loots around the mouth of Hell. Learn more about the discoveries of the restoration in this video.
Peasants & proverbs
Exhibitions & events
Whether highlighting a Netherlandish proverb or poking fun at humankind’s shortcomings in his peasant genre scenes, Bruegel’s images have become iconic works, inspiring countless copies and imitators of his style, and known today far and wide. The year celebrating Bruegel’s legacy is already set to kick off in Vienna on October 2nd with the opening of a sensational landmark exhibition that brings together many of his most recognizable paintings. Read more on the website of the Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna. And discover even more exhibitions and events as part of the Bruegel year here.
3 ways to get your dose of Bruegel from home
Can’t make it out to the exhibition? With 3 titles covering different aspects of Bruegel’s work, Musebooks has something for everyone interested in uncovering the hidden details and solving the mysteries of this artist’s work.
- For a thematic journey through Bruegel’s entertaining and hidden details, we recommend Bruegel in Detail(€15.95). Also available in French and Dutch (Dutch edition now on sale).
- The Complete Works of Pieter Bruegel the Elder(€2.99) gives an overview of all of Bruegel’s work and highlights some of the most important with short texts and extra detail images.
- To get in-depth coverage of Bruegel’s oeuvre, readers can check out Bruegel: The Complete Paintings, Drawings, and Prints(€15.95), a well-researched and insightful publication.
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