BRUEGEL, Pieter the Elder
(b. ca. 1525, Brogel, d. 1569, Bruxelles)

The Triumph of Death

c. 1562
Oil on panel, 117 x 162 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

An apocalyptic vision, the skeletons of death mowing down the living with scythes, en masse or individually: resistance is useless. Trees and grass are withered; the fires of Hell blaze behind the hills, and the Christian promise of resurrection and redemption is absent.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder returned to the pure tradition of the Netherlands. He observed the popular aspects of his own environment, with their animation and colour, and drew from them satirical and moralistic conclusions.