The Return of the Herd (1565)

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

The Return of the Herd (Autumn, October-November)
Oil on oak, 117 × 159.7 × 3 cm
Kunsthistorisches MuseumVienna

Bruegel introduced to the art of painting the autumn motif of the returning herd, a subject untypical for the Netherlands. To achieve this, he was able to draw on impressions gained during his travels through Switzerland. Driving the cattle down from the Alpine pastures, a key event in every peasant’s year, is made into the title scene. Yet the main subject is the landscape which the artist has raised to the sublime in its tonal colouring and mood. (KHM)