Gloomy Day Pieter Bruegel Buy Art Prints Now
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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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The Gloomy Day is one of a series of six paintings by the Dutch painter and printmaker Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

Known as the ‘Labours of the Months”, each picture corresponds to a different season of the year. Sadly only five of the paintings still exist today.

Painted by Bruegel in 1565, the Gloomy Day is an oil on wood painting. The painting is a part of the collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria. The title given to the painting is ‘The Gloomy Day (Early Spring)’.

If you look at the painting, it depicts the harsh weather of an early spring. Like Bruegel’s other paintings, he has made the landscape the central feature of the Gloomy Day.

He achieves this with the stormy overcast sky and leafless trees which dominate the painting.

In the background, you can see the ships breaking up and crashing on the shoreline.

The figures in the painting’s foreground are secondary in comparison with the landscape. Confined to one corner of the picture, they look to preparing themselves for the harsh weather that is coming.

Like most of his other paintings, this picture tells us a story with a moral message.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder was a painter of the Dutch and Flemish Renaissance movement that emerged in the 16th Century. Most of his paintings deal with landscapes and peasant scenes. His works span a period of nearly 16 years up to his death in 1569. His most notable works are seen as being:

  • The Blind Leading the Blind
  • Landscape with the Fall of Icarus
  • Hunters in the Snow
  • The Peasant Wedding