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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Elck continues Peasant Bruegel's coverage of the lives of poor citizens in local villages around the city of Antwerp, where he was based for many years.

This scene appears to feature a house being ransacked, with many of its contents being thrown out onto the street and others carefully looking through to find anything valuable. This has less positive vibe than many of his other related drawings, where festive celebration were normally the order of the day. Most of his drawings around this time were completed in pen and indian ink, typical of the Netherlandish artists.

The moral story behind this drawing is to remind us of the dangers of selfishness, as several individuals suffer from their persistent desire of material items. Such a lesson could be just as valuable today, you could argue. This drawing is now a part of the collection of the British Museum and was turned into an etching after assistance from several notable local craftsmen. Elck translates as Everyman, as explained in their description of the drawing on their website.

The drawing was commissioned by Hieronymous Cock who was an Antwerp publisher. The completed drawing was then engraved by Pieter van der Heyden and Bruegel the Elder worked with these two frequently during this period.