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

The "Little" Tower of Babel (detail)

c. 1564
Oil on panel
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

The Christian tradition interprets the tower, which was intended to reach up to heaven, as a symbol of hubris, of arrogance. In the picture from Vienna, it is King Nimrod, and thus the worldly potentate, who is the target of criticism. Here, in the Rotterdam painting, an almost invisible church procession is ascending the ramps: Bruegel is criticizing the Catholic Church.