Mad Meg 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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This drawing from 1561 is titled Dulle Griet (Mad Meg) and was followed on later by a completed painting that makes use of a very similar composition.

It was completed in pen and brown ink, gouache, on yellowing paper and is now owned by the Museum Kunstpalast, in Düsseldorf, Germany. It looks too complete to just purely be a study piece for the later painting and can be considered an artwork of note in its own right. Unlike many of his other drawings, Bruegel inserts a variety of colour into this piece which helps it to stand out from his other contributions to this medium.

The standard signature elements of his style can be found here with an endless spread of activity right across the scene but with additional colours that lift this piece significantly. His main shades are placed in the background, where less detail is found, but he also darkens some elements in the foreground in order to give an impression of shadow across some of this village's walls. All this helps to bring a third dimension and avoid the drawing feeling too flat.

The detail is so considerable here that you will actually need to look from a very close distance to the drawing in order to make out each individual figure and the various elements of the village. The completed painting, which came several years later, is much darker than this and styled completely differently, whilst still retaining the overall layout.