The Beggars (1568)

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

The Beggars (The Cripples)
Oil on panel, 18.5 x 21.5 cm
Musée du LouvreParis

The real meaning of the scene, in particular the meaning of the motif of fox tails (a motif dear to the rebel Beggars who manifested themselves in Brussels in 1567), remains obscure. The evocation of beggars carrying fox tails may bear witness to a popular tradition linked to Carnival and in particular to Mardi Gras, as underlined by the paper miter of a derisive bishop (cf. Sellink). (Louvre)