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Bruegel: The Duke’s Army in the Mountains September 22, 2014

Posted by anagasto in art, history, painting.
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Pieter_Bruegel_The_Conversion_of_Saul_
The panel is oil on wood measuring about 1 x 1.5 m.
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According to  http://en.wikipedia.org/, some critics think that the painting represents  events much closer to Bruegel’s own time.

In 1567 Don Fernando Álvarez de Toledo y Pimentel, 3rd Duke of Alba  crossed the mountains  at the head of an army of 10,000 men to go and crush the Dutch revolts in the Netherlands.

The 3rd Duke of Alba is remembered now because of his famous descendants, the Duchess of Alba painted by Goya ………

and  the modern Duchess of Alba, below photographed at her Seville palace in very famous company:

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According to some critics, the painting represents Saint Paul on his way to Damascus.  It is typical for Bruegel not to be too explicit about the real subject of his paintings. Bruegel may have had reasons to fear the Inquisition. This could also be why on Wikipedia and other places he is classified as a landscape painter.

Perhaps he himself  said he was doing landscape, though most of his paintings are peopled by sullen half-wits surrounded by nature of dreamlike beauty.

The clothes and the weapons are of his own time, and the painting is dated 1567, but Bruegel never cared for historical realism. Besides, there seems to be something going on in ther center of the picture. Somebody may have fallen off his horse.

That would be the moment of Saint Paul’s famous conversion from Judaism to Christianity.

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Comments»

1. Carl D'Agostino - August 18, 2013

I am not sure if it is a matter of historical accuracy as it seems most artist of the time did the same thing. Adoration of the Magi of 1475 (Botticelli) is one good example.

2. cantueso - August 20, 2013

I did not mean anacronisms, but a complete “translation”. Here is Bruegel’s Bethlehem https://espliego.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/snowflake-design/1500the-census/
in deep winter, with houses that are mainly roofs, immense roofs, and children on sledges playing on the ice. Watch the peasants on the left of the painting trying to hold down a pig certainly to prepare him for dinner. A pig in Bethlehem!


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