Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Netherlandish Proverbs and Sixteenth-Century Dutch Semiotics

Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Research Paper

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

School of Art and Art History, College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Scott B. Montgomery


Pieter Bruegel c.1525-1569, Netherlandish Proverbs, Painting, Dutch, Netherlands, Semiotics and art


"In 1559, Pieter Bruegel the Elder‘s depiction of {7f2015}Netherlandish Proverbs‖ illustrated his profound understanding of the Dutch love for proverbs, their contemporary values, and appreciation for moral lessons in art forms. Depicting gestures and poses that represented proverbial phrases enabled Bruegel‘s leap from didactic labels employed by other artists to his inscription-free success of {7f2015}Netherlandish Proverbs.‖ My examination reveals that Bruegel‘s employment of gestural imagery, indicating rhetorical phrases or proverbs, was reinforced by a history of scholarly curatorship for written proverb collections, humanist interest in proverbs, and use of Dutch vernacular to bolster protonational pride"

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.

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