Summer 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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Summer continues Pieter Bruegel the Elder's seasonal series of ink drawings, following on from his Spring of 1565.

The drawing captures the next stage of the farming cycle, with local peasants coming out to collect the rewards of their efforts earlier in the year. Again we find Bruegel's figures hard at work, with Peasant Bruegel, as he became known, continuing to provide exposure to some of the less fortunate in Netherlandish society. Within the background you will see a small town profile and several trees which just help to structure the composition.

Nearest to the viewer is a gentleman swigging directly from a large jug, probably enjoying some free alcohol laid on by the employers for those taking a break. European farm workers at this time would frequently be rewarded with alcoholic beverages and this helped to build friendships within the groups of workers. Sometimes, there maybe some over exhuberance that would impact productivity negatively, but in the main it was a key perk that was respected and enjoyed. The pros and cons of alcohol were address by William Hogarth in his Beer Street and Gin Lane.

Another interesting aspect of this artwork are the lines of perspective which draw into the centre of the background from the two corners of the foreground. Bruegel uses the strip of walkway to put this together, with the crops providing the contrast which draws in from each corner. Figures are then placed along these lines to strengthen his use of perspective.