Winter Landscape with Skaters and Bird Trap

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Pieter Bruegel, Winter Landscape with Skaters and Bird Trap, 1565
By ELLIE SCHNEIDER

Bruegel brings to life winter in Netherland in Winter Landscape with Skaters and Bird Trap. This large-scale view of daily life in the world of the Northern Renaissance help us viewers better understand the cultures and influence of painters at the time. Through Bruegel's works we gain more knowledge about cultural influences, as well as social and economic status and religious influence for Bruegel and for the Northern Renaissance.


Bruegel often depicted peasants, humanizing them to the public eye and representing a group with less influence at the time. His most famous works show peasants working in fields, celebrating weddings, and daily living. This scene is no different. This painting, similar to Hunters in the Snow, shows activities in peasant villages during the winter. In the two winter scenes, Bruegel also shows the beautiful landscape, which grows more beautiful with the snow. Especially in Winter Landscape with Skaters and Bird Trap, the focus is on the landscape and architecture, rather than the people.

Pieter Bruegel, Hunters in the Snow, 1565
Bruegel rarely focuses on one subject. His paintings show many people doing many things. These scenes are sometime chaotic, but Bruegel's intense detail allows in depth analysis of these works. Once broken down, viewers have a better sense of Bruegel's influences and peasant life. Unlike some of the works that are chaotic, the two winter scenes are calm. Maybe it is the weather or the cool colors that create this calmness. In paintings such as Children's Games and Netherlandish Proverbs, the high density of people and warm colors create movement and tension within the frame. The two winter scenes have less people and less chaotic activities, allowing the viewers the breathe.

My favorite parts of Winter Landscape with Skaters and Bird Trap are the trees and roofs covered in snow. I also like how the skaters follow down the winding, iced-over river and the almost mystical fog in the background. Even though Bruegel is more famous for his chaotic scenes with Bosch's influence, I am drawn to the serenity and coolness in Winter Landscape with Skaters and Bird Trap. 

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