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Pieter Bruegel - The Battle Between Carnival and Lent


It's been quite a while since I've done an Art History post, mostly because I've had a number of essays to do in which I've had to write a lot about paintings so writing blog posts about them was the last thing I wanted to do.  This post is inspired by a painting which I took a liking to a while ago and I thought it was interesting enough for me to write this post.

The painting is a bit overwhelming when you first look at it with there being a number of things going on at once but each scene is very interesting.

Carnival was the time of over indulgence where people could eat whatever they wanted, drink, play games as well as swap gender roles.  Lent on the other hand, which occurred straight after, was the exact opposite with it being a time of restraint.  The figures representing Carnival and Lent are in the immediate foreground and are having a mock battle.  Each figure is surrounded by items that are indicative of the event; Carnival with meat and Lent with bread.  The painting is split in the middle with the activities of Carnival on the left and Lent on the right which give an insight to traditions of the contemporary society.  On the left different plays are being performed by actors and people are spilling out of pubs. On the right however people are coming out of church with beggars asking for money and children playing games.  These are just some of the scenes that Bruegel excelled in depicting.

What I like about this painting is while it is a representation of contemporary 16th century society it is also a bit nonsensical and humorous with how the figures are portrayed as actors performing.

Hope you all enjoyed this post

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