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Who will solve the mystery of Bruegel?

Pieter Bruegel the Elder continues to be a man of mystery. Actually, we know very little about his life. Wikipedia wasn't around at the time. This is why many stories have emerged about the artist, which may or may not be true.

It has been suggested on more than one occasion that the Flemish master was a Protestant. However, if this was the case why would he paint an image of Mary in his painting 'the Census of Bethlehem' during the year of the iconoclastic riots (1566)?

Countless studies provide us with increasing insight into his mysterious character. For a long time, Bruegel has been deemed to be the hero and the spokesman of the farmers. Bruegel was indeed able to visualise the life of ordinary people in Flanders like no other, but it may all have been a mere smokescreen. After all, he painted these common scenes on the instructions of the nouveaux riches. These merchants and high-level administrative figures were city dwellers who not only used their recently administrative capitals to purchase country mansions outside the city, but who also wanted to show off their pieces of art.

Whereas the old nobility preffered to use wall tapetries as a status symbol, Bruegel's new visual imagery was more in keeping with the vision of this new generation. Bruegel captured the domains of these new landlords on panels as part of paid assigments. The splendid winter landscapes and scenes from peasant life were more likely to be showpieces of the nouveaux riches than a 'pamphlet' for the farmers.

Bruegel's panels are old and fragile and are therefore not easy to move. A visit to Flanders is undoubtedly the best way to get to know Bruegel. Here, you can see the masterpieces in their own surroundings. Furthermore, you can stroll through some of the landscapes that Bruegel immortalised, just a stone's throw from the museums exhibiting his work.


Are you interested in other mysteries and secretive places in Flanders?

The Sacred Books/Sacred Libraries project identifies aspects of religious life in Bruges that would be of interest to tourists at two ecclesiastical sites. Books form the common thread for this project. Religious communities still live in the English Convent and in the Convent of the Disclaced Carmelites. Both sites have a unique library or a book collection containing centuries-old books, chronicles, handwritings and manuscripts, some of which are illustrated with beautiful miniatures.


Gruuthusemuseum, Drijver, Bruges - © Sarah Bauwens


Discover the mystical masterpiece of the Eyck brothers, the 'Adoration of the Mystic lamb'. Plan je bezoek.


Take a stroll through the majestic Sonian Forest.

Zoniënwoud, Brussel

Sonian Forest, Brussels - © "Instagram justsumi1 " - Source


Visit the enchanting winter garden dating back to 1900 with its colourful art nouveau stained glass cupola in a frmer Catholic girls boarding school. A remarkable and daring choice by the Ursuline nuns of Waver, which reflects the openness and interest for this innovative style.


Wintergarden, Bosstraat, Sint-Katelijne-Waver

Flanders is beautiful.

I'd love to show you around some more of the region.

Fully experience Flanders' wealth.

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