The Wedding Dance (1566)

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

The Wedding Dance
Oil on panel, 119.4 x 157.5 cm
Detroit Institute of ArtsDetroit

The Wedding Dance is a splendid example of Bruegel‘s fascination with the peasant life of his native land. Public and private holidays and festivals provided him with typical situations and characters for his paintings. Here the wedding guests are very simply modeled, the positions of their arms and legs somewhat exaggerated to make the dancers look more awkward and more rustic. Although a modern audience might see this panel primarily as a genre painting, Bruegel‘s contemporaries would have noted its moralizing overtones: frenzied dance and lustful behavior could lead to sin and damnation. (DIA)