Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The Tower

Today's hero is the fellow that painted the pretty picture above. His name is Pieter Bruegel (the Elder), and he was born sometime in 1525, in Breda, Netherlands. Since no specific date of birth is given, I have, by royal decree, made this day his birthday.
He was apprenticed to a painter, who's daughter he married, did a bit of traveling (to France, and Italy, as most painters do), moved back to Brussels, and lived as a master painter, I hope happily ever after. He did sire two other famous painters, so we know he did have a fair bit of fun in his life. However, both of these painter/children were very young when our hero kicked the bucket, so it is unlikely that they learned a lot of dear old dad (welcome to the club, boys).
The painting above is entitled "The Tower of Babel," and it is one of about 45 painting by Bruegel (the Elder) to survive. To my everlasting shame, I learned that one-third of his surviving paintings are in a museum in Vienna. I visited Vienna last christmas, and had no idea, therefore missing a wonderful chance to see some of his beautiful (but disturbing) paintings for myself. It is embarrassing, but I guess it just means I will have to go back, and check them out.
He was called Peasant Bruegel because he had the habit of dressing up like a peasant, and attending weddings. You could say he was the original wedding crasher, but for him, weddings provided him with inspiration for his paintings. There is no word on whether he got to kiss the bride, or drank all the free whiskey.
His other famous painting, and one of my all time favourites is "The Triumph of Death." I am not sure if a wedding provided any inspiration for this painting, but if it did that must have been one hell of a reception. So, for painting some lovely works of art, that I admire greatly, Pieter Bruegel (the Elder) (?, 1525- September 9th, 1569, at around 44), you are my (357th) hero of the day.

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