Children’s Games (1560)

Bruegel the Elder, Pieter (c.1525-1569)

Children’s Games
Oil on oak panel, 116,4 × 160,3 × 1,2 cm
Kunsthistorisches MuseumVienna

From a bird’s eye perspective – this was the only way Bruegel could render visible the impressive crowd of figures – we look on to a cast square. Over 230 children are occupied with playing 83 different games. For those wishing to decipher all the games, the minuteness of the scenes necessitates slow and selective study – a pleasurable pastime indeed. Bruegel’s composition is without precedent or parallel in the fine arts and can be seen as a painted “encyclopaedia” – albeit without any moralising undertones. (KHM)

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