Children's Games (1559-60)
by Pieter BRUEGEL the Elder

The painting is referred to as the "encyclopaedia of Flemish children's games". It represents about 84 games some of them are practiced until present days. Bruegel has depicted more than 250 children here. Such a catalogue of games, such an enumeration of children's methods for exercising the body and preparing for the adult world through imitation, is without parallel in the history of art.

The subject of childhood had hitherto been virtually ignored in western painting and thought. Childhood was not viewed as a phase of life with any requirements of its own, but merely as the preliminary stage to adulthood. Children were treated as little adults, as the clothing portrayed in Bruegel's picture indicates: the girls' aprons and bonnets resembled those of their mothers, while the boys' trousers, jerkins and jackets echoed those worn by their fathers. Moreover, there were hardly any toys: only tops, hobby-horses, dolls, and windmills on long sticks. Most of Bruegel's children are managing without toys or making do with pigs' bladders, knucklebones, caps, barrels, hoops - such things, in other words, as could be found simply lying about.

Preview Picture Data Info
Children's Games
1559-60
Oil on wood, 118 x 161 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


Children's Games (detail)
1559-60
Oil on wood
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


Children's Games (detail)
1559-60
Oil on wood
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


Children's Games (detail)
1559-60
Oil on wood, width of detail 12 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


Children's Games (detail)
1559-60
Oil on wood
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


Children's Games (detail)
1559-60
Oil on wood, width of detail 12 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


Children's Games (detail)
1559-60
Oil on wood, width of detail 12 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


Children's Games (detail)
1559-60
Oil on wood, width of detail 12 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


Children's Games (detail)
1559-60
Oil on wood, width of detail 12 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


Children's Games (detail)
1559-60
Oil on wood, width of detail 12 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


Children's Games (detail)
1559-60
Oil on wood, width of detail 12 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


Children's Games (detail)
1559-60
Oil on wood, width of detail 12 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


Children's Games (detail)
1559-60
Oil on wood, width of detail 12 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


Children's Games (detail)
1559-60
Oil on wood, width of detail 12 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


Children's Games (detail)
1559-60
Oil on wood, width of detail 12 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


Children's Games (detail)
1559-60
Oil on wood, width of detail 12 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


Children's Games (detail)
1559-60
Oil on wood, width of detail 12 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


Children's Games (detail)
1559-60
Oil on wood, width of detail 12 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


Children's Games (detail)
1559-60
Oil on wood, width of detail 12 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


Children's Games (detail)
1559-60
Oil on wood, width of detail 12 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


Children's Games (detail)
1559-60
Oil on wood, width of detail 12 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


Children's Games (detail)
1559-60
Oil on wood, width of detail 12 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


Children's Games (detail)
1559-60
Oil on wood, width of detail 12 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna



Summary of works by Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Paintings
Landscapes | Children's games | Proverbs
Village life | Demons and devils | Tower of Babel
Series of Months | Religious themes | St John the Baptist
Peasant life | Large figures | Miscellaneous
Graphics



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