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Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Pieter Brueghel the Elder,

Misanthrope. Pieter Bruegel the Elder

1568, tempera on canvas, 88 × 85 cm
Naples, Galleria Nazionale di Capodimonte


Misanthrop. Pieter Bruegel d. Ä.

um 1568, Tempera auf Leinwand, 88 × 85 cm
Neapel, Galleria Nazionale di Capodimonte


. Πήτερ Μπρίγκελ ο πρεσβύτερος


The Misanthrope is a tempera-on-canvas by Flemish renaissance artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder, painted in 1568. It is currently held and exhibited at the National Museum of Capodimonte in Naples, Italy.


The Flemish inscription at bottom reads:

Om dat de werelt is soe ongetru / Daer om gha ic in den ru
("Because the world is perfidious, I am going into mourning").

The moral of the painting is that such a relinquishment of the world is not possible: one must face up to the world's difficulties, not abandon responsibility for them. The hooded misanthrope is being robbed by the small figure in the glass ball, a symbol of vanity.[1] His action shows how impossible it is to give up the world. The misanthrope is also walking unaware towards the caltrops set for him by the world. He cannot renounce it as he would wish, and he is contrasted with the shepherd in the background who guards his sheep and who is more virtuous than the misanthrope because of his simple, honourable performance of his duties, his sense of responsibility towards his charges.[2]

Cf. Pietro Allegretti, Brueghel, Skira (2003), ISBN 0-00-001088-X (Italian)
R-M. Hagen & R. Hagen, Bruegel: The Complete Paintings, Taschen (2000), ISBN 3-8228-5991-5

Further reading

Orenstein, Nadine M., ed. (2001). Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Drawings and Prints. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. ISBN 9780870999901. (see index)

External links

The Misanthrope at the Capodimonte Gallery (Italian)
Bosch Bruegel Society
99 works by Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Complete list of paintings which includes inscriptions, with explanation (French)
Creativity Brueghel laid the foundation of the Netherlands School
"Bruegel". Encyclopedia Americana. 1920.


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