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

The Beekeepers and the Birdnester

c. 1568
Pen and Indian ink, 203 x 309 mm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

Honey was the most important sweetener in those days. The colonies of bees were smoked out in autumn; the peasants would then catch new colonies in spring. Bruegel will have found a special attraction in the opportunity offered him by the beekeepers of portraying them as anonymous, faceless people.