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

The Triumph of Death (detail)

c. 1562
Oil on panel
Museo del Prado, Madrid

In this detail from Bruegel's crowded and horrifying vision of the inevitability of death, a dinner has been broken up by the intrusion of the army of Death and the diners are putting up a futile resistance. They have drawn their swords in order to fight the skeletons dressed in winding- sheets; no less hopelessly, the jester takes refuge beneath the dinner table. The backgammon board and the playing cards have been scattered, while a skeleton thinly disguised with a mask empties away the wine flasks. Above, a woman is being embraced by a skeleton in a hideous parody of after-dinner amorousness.