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

The Census at Bethlehem (detail)

Oil on oak
Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels

The sun is setting over a Flemish village. The wreath hanging over a building in the left foreground is an inn sign; the plaque next to it displays the double eagle, the crest of the Habsburgs. Philip II in Madrid was of the House of Habsburg, and taxes are being collected here in his name.