Liars and Loopholes: World Upside Down

7:00 AM

Liars and Loopholes
Subterfuge in Art
Curated by Tessia Phillips

Pieter Bruegel, World Upside Down, 1559

Pieter Bruegel spent the majority of his artistic career doing whatever he wanted anyway, but this particular piece highlights his ability to... make fun of proverbs, making them both artistic and hilarious. In a lovable and comic way, Bruegel, simply put, paints blasphemy. He uses this work to illustrate the absurdity of the literal.

My personal favorite example of Bruegel finding and capitalizing on a loophole is visible in the top left corner. Literally, the proverb says, “He pisses on the moon.” If finding an excuse to paint a man peeing out of a window isn’t impressive enough, Bruelel uses a moon sign outside a shop to serve as the actual moon’s replacement. "Putting a hood on the Devil" and "carrying a cauldron too hot" are also depicted proverbs. In his ability to mock the literal with the visual, Breugel finds the hilarity in preachy morality.

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