The Tower of Babel (1563 and c. 1564)
by Pieter BRUEGEL the Elder

Bruegel painted the subject of the Tower of Babel three times. The first version (now lost), very small and painted on ivory, is mentioned in the inventory of Giulio Clovio, the famous miniaturist, whom Bruegel met and collaborated with in Rome in 1553. The second version was a painting on panel, which is dated 1563 and now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, and the third was a smaller painting, now in the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. The Rotterdam painting is generally thought to date from a year or so after the picture in Vienna. The latter is more traditional in its treatment of the subject in that it includes the visit of King Nimrod to the incomplete Tower, in the lower right-hand corner.

The story of the Tower of Babel (like that of the Suicide of Saul) was interpreted as an example of pride punished, and that is no doubt what Bruegel intended his painting to illustrate.

Preview Picture Data Info
The Tower of Babel
1563
Oil on oak panel, 114 x 155 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


The Tower of Babel (detail)
1563
Oil on oak panel
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


The Tower of Babel (detail)
1563
Oil on oak panel
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


The Tower of Babel (detail)
1563
Oil on oak panel
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


The Tower of Babel (detail)
1563
Oil on oak panel
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


The Tower of Babel (detail)
1563
Oil on oak panel
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


The Tower of Babel (detail)
1563
Oil on oak panel, width of detail 7 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


The Tower of Babel (detail)
1563
Oil on oak panel, width of detail 7 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


The Tower of Babel (detail)
1563
Oil on oak panel, width of detail 7 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


The Tower of Babel (detail)
1563
Oil on oak panel, width of detail 7 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


The Tower of Babel (detail)
1563
Oil on oak panel, width of detail 7 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


The Tower of Babel (detail)
1563
Oil on oak panel, width of detail 7 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


The Tower of Babel (detail)
1563
Oil on oak panel, width of detail 7 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


The Tower of Babel (detail)
1563
Oil on oak panel, width of detail 7 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


The Tower of Babel (detail)
1563
Oil on oak panel, width of detail 7 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


The Tower of Babel (detail)
1563
Oil on oak panel, width of detail 7 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


The Tower of Babel (detail)
1563
Oil on oak panel, width of detail 7 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


The Tower of Babel (detail)
1563
Oil on oak panel, width of detail 7 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


The Tower of Babel (detail)
1563
Oil on oak panel, width of detail 7 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


The Tower of Babel (detail)
1563
Oil on oak panel, width of detail 7 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


The Tower of Babel (detail)
1563
Oil on oak panel, width of detail 7 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


The Tower of Babel (detail)
1563
Oil on oak panel, width of detail 7 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


The Tower of Babel (detail)
1563
Oil on oak panel, width of detail 7 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


The Tower of Babel (detail)
1563
Oil on oak panel, width of detail 7 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


The "Little" Tower of Babel
c. 1564
Oil on panel, 60 x 75 cm
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam


The "Little" Tower of Babel (detail)
c. 1564
Oil on panel
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam



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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