Bruegel and his age

Written by BrusselsLife Team - 11 Jun 2006, 00:00 (Updated: 13 Dec 2012, 07:59)
Bruegel and his age
Pieter Bruegel lived and worked in the sixteenth century, a period in which the world was changing rapidly. The exploitation of the New World was in full swing, science was progressing with great strides, and the Roman Catholic was losing its monopoly in the West. It was a period during which society was torn by relgious conflict, when the Netherlands rose in rebellion against their Spanish overlord and his merciless policy of repression ... Echoes of these turbulent times can also be found in Bruegel’s work.

Bruegel’s work is situated on the dividing line between city and country life, between elite and popular culture. The exhibition ‘Bruegel and his age’ sheds light on various aspects of sixteenth-century society, including the political and religious situation, scientific progress – and above all daily life, whether among the elite or common people. The Castle of Gaasbeek, which forms the backdrop for this exhibition, belonged to the count of Egmont during the sixteenth century and remained in the family for many generations. Egmont was one of the most important noblemen of the Netherlands, who, on account of his resistance to Spanish policy and his presumed ‘apostasy’, was condemned to death on the orders of the Duke of Alva. The figure of Egmont and the castle itself are thus two important themes in the exhibition. The castle offers a glimpse of the ‘lordly life’ in the sixteenth century, albeit from a nineteenth century perspective. In this connection, the exhibition also focuses on the romantic recuperation of the sixteeenth century as the age of Bruegel and rebellion against Spain.

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