10 books like Pieter Bruegel

By Jürgen Müller, Thomas Schauerte,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Pieter Bruegel. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

Whistler

By Daniel E. Sutherland,

Book cover of Whistler: A Life for Art's Sake

Known to broad public due to the hilarious “Whistler’s Mother” starring Mr. Bean, James Whistler is a paramount American participant in the Fin-de-siècle artistic life of France and England and a predecessor of most important artistic endeavors of the 20th century. Daniel Sutherland combed all possible archives and  produced a stunning study of Whistler’s private life, full of scandals, sufferings, travels, and triumphs. From the childhood Whister spent in the tsarist Russia to his vagabond life in Paris, his life is always a journey and a self-quest. Eminently readable and bright narrative of a somber and paradoxical character.

Whistler

By Daniel E. Sutherland,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Whistler as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A major new biography of James McNeill Whistler, one of most complex, intriguing, and important of America's artists

This engaging personal history dispels the popular notion of James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) as merely a combative, eccentric, and unrelenting publicity seeker. The Whistler revealed in these beautifully illustrated pages is an intense, introspective, and complex man, plagued by self-doubt and haunted by an endless pursuit of perfection in his painting and drawing.

"[Sutherland] seeks to get behind the public Whistler . . . never judging or condescending to his subject. . . . The portrait of Whistler that emerges is complex…


Marc Chagall

By Benjamin Harshav,

Book cover of Marc Chagall: The Lost Jewish World

One can read this book in two ways: as a highly representative collection of Marc Chagall’s works from different periods of his almost century-long life – and as an insightful study of the meaning of Chagall’s works. Harshav’s short analytical essays of Chagall’s major paintings emphasize how Yiddish idioms and the images of traditional Jewish world of the shtetl shape much of Chagall’s later artistic endeavors. Whatever the painter from Vitebsk put on canvas, he was bringing to life his recollections of the language his spoke as a child and artifacts among which he grew up.

Marc Chagall

By Benjamin Harshav,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Marc Chagall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the first book to focus on Chagall's Jewish roots. Chagall is one of the most popular artists of the 20th Century, with work in every major museum in the world. The book includes 200 illustrations, many from the little-known Russian theatre works, that have rarely been published before. The Russian-born French painter Marc Chagall is recognized as one of the most significant painters and graphic artists of the 20th century. This new book, "Marc Chagall and the Lost Jewish World", is the first book on Chagall, to illustrate succinct interpretations of Chagall's world and iconography, and the nature…


Through Soviet Jewish Eyes

By David Shneer,

Book cover of Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust

Written by one of the key scholars of Jewish history in the USSR, who died untimely in 2020, this book challenges our bias about the USSR and its Cold-War era culture. Shneer tells how the Soviet photographers, many of whom where Jews, documented the Nazi atrocities during World war II and how the Soviet officialdom used their visual narratives to create new cult of the Great Patriotic war and the image of the USSR as a humanistic society.

Through Soviet Jewish Eyes

By David Shneer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Through Soviet Jewish Eyes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Finalist for the 2011 National Jewish Book Award in the Holocaust category

Most view the relationship of Jews to the Soviet Union through the lens of repression and silence. Focusing on an elite group of two dozen Soviet-Jewish photographers, including Arkady Shaykhet, Alexander Grinberg, Mark Markov-Grinberg, Evgenii Khaldei, Dmitrii Baltermants, and Max Alpert, Through Soviet Jewish Eyes presents a different picture. These artists participated in a social project they believed in and with which they were emotionally and intellectually invested-they were charged by the Stalinist state to tell the visual story of the unprecedented horror we now call the Holocaust.…


Modernism in Kyiv

By Irena Makaryk, Virlana Tkacz,

Book cover of Modernism in Kyiv: Jubilant Experimentation

This excellent collection of articles by the top connoisseurs of East European art and culture discusses how Ukrainians and Jews created new trends in art and literature in the midst of the revolutionary turmoil Kyiv, then short-lived capital of the Ukrainian People’s Republic and later of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. This book proves that avant-garde images and trends emerge from the revolutionary utopianism and the desire to create a universalistic language understandable beyond the ethnic divide and languages.

Modernism in Kyiv

By Irena Makaryk, Virlana Tkacz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Modernism in Kyiv as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The study of modernism has been largely focused on Western cultural centres such as Paris, Vienna, London, and New York. Extravagantly illustrated with over 300 photos and reproductions, Modernism in Kyiv demonstrates that the Ukrainian capital was a major centre of performing and visual arts as well as literary and cultural activity. While arguing that Kyiv's modernist impulse is most prominently displayed in the experimental work of Les Kurbas, one of the masters of the early Soviet stage, the contributors also examine the history of the city and the artistic production of diverse groups including Ukrainians, Russians, Jews, and Poles.…


As Above, So Below

By Rudy Rucker,

Book cover of As Above, So Below: A Novel of Peter Bruegel

As Peter Bruegel stands in the Sistine Chapel admiring Michelangelo’s work he realizes he could never compete with one who works in the heavens – above. He will confine himself to the below the common man. We follow Bruegel and his friends on his journeys, his daily life, and the inspiration he finds in the everyday world around him. His peasants are peasants. Their daily toil is not romanticized. Their feasts consist of rural fare.  Even his religious art is not idealized. It is wonderful to imagine that the author has walked in Bruegel's shoes. Rudy Rucker is a professor of math and computer science but his extensive research has brought to life an artist who left very little of his own life to history.  

As Above, So Below

By Rudy Rucker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked As Above, So Below as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Peter Bruegel's paintings - a peasant wedding in a barn, hunters in the snow, a rollicking street festival, and many others - have long defined our idea of everyday life in 16th Century Europe. In sixteen chapters Rucker brings Bruegel's painter's progress and his colourful world to vibrant life doing for Bruegel what GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING did for Vermeer. We follow the artist from the winding streets of Antwerp and Brussels to the glowing skies and decaying monuments of Rome.


In the Prison City

By J. H. Twells, Jr.,

Book cover of In the Prison City: Brussels, 1914-1918: A Personal Narrative

Whenever I research for a novel, I love discovering those little-known nuggets of history. This 1918 action memoir is chocked full of them, revealing life in enemy-occupied Brussels during WWI. I was immediately drawn into this world and imagined the Belgian people’s shock and fear at the rumbling wheels of mitrailleuse guns and thundering horse’s hooves that announced the German army rolling into town. I sympathized with their hardships in being prisoners in their own city and I cheered them as they began to retaliate against their oppressors in subtle and sometimes humorous ways. Their fighting spirit became my inspiration for the story setting of my book.  

In the Prison City

By J. H. Twells, Jr.,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In the Prison City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1919.

Personal narrative.

World War I.


Merde in Europe

By Stephen Clarke,

Book cover of Merde in Europe

Okay, fine, this book isn’t actually nonfiction, but it’s so accurate and believable that it may as well be. You might not question Clarke’s life choices, but you’ll question Paul West, the protagonist. Have you ever wanted to know what it’s like to be a bureaucrat? Neither have I. But that didn’t stop me from reading this book. As someone who has had to deal with funcionarios  (Spanish government employees), bureaucrats aren’t high on my list as people I’d invite to a dinner party, but this book gave me a chance to learn about their lives at a safe distance. I learned something new and laughed out loud on almost every page.

Merde in Europe

By Stephen Clarke,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Merde in Europe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE POST-BREXIT EDITION - brand new chapters with extra EU chaos for Englishman Paul West.

An Englishman, Paul West, goes to Brussels to work for a French MEP. There he gets an insider's view of what really goes on in the massive madhouse that is the EU Parliament. With the referendum on the horizon, things are even more hysterical than usual.

When the Brexit result comes in, Paul has to make a decision. If he wants to work in Europe, should he apply for a French passport?

But can an Englishman really become French?
Can he sing the bloodthirsty 'Marseillaise'?…


Fatal Decision

By Terri Arthur,

Book cover of Fatal Decision: Edith Cavell, World War I Nurse

Terri Arthur, a retired registered nurse, obviously wrote Fatal Decision: Edith Cavell, World War I Nurse, as an homage to a British nurse whose heroism not only saved hundreds of Allied lives when the penalty for doing so was death by execution but also inspired thousands to join the Allied war effort. I appreciated the numerous historical photographs throughout this prize-winning biographical novel. The narrative and incorporated historical context beautifully dramatize the courageous actions and inner life of a great WWI hero. In an Author’s Note, Terri Arthur states that her intention in telling the story of Edith Cavell in fictional form was so that readers could fully experience Cavell’s “amazing journey.” For me, Arthur achieved her objective. This is history richly conveyed,  

Fatal Decision

By Terri Arthur,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fatal Decision as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An inspiring story everyone should know…and will never forget!

Based on historical fact, this captivating novel tells the story of the legendary Edith Cavell, a British nurse whose duties as a healer clashed with the demands of a ruthless occupying regime during World War I. At the request of a brilliant,
hot-headed surgeon, Edith went from London to Brussels to create Belgium's first school of nursing. At the height of her success, the German army marched into neutral Belgium and took over her hospital and school.

Knowing the dangers of working against the repressive and brutal control of the German…


The Ventriloquists

By E. R. Ramzipoor,

Book cover of The Ventriloquists

Based on a true story, this book was a treasure of a find, detailing the rebellion of artists in Nazi-occupied Belgium in 1943. Helene, a girl disguised as a male newspaper hawker, is only a side character – a cog in the machine of the farce newspaper being published by the rebels – but her incredible voice brings the movement to life, while expertly weaving in her own questions about gender and sexuality in a world she’s not sure has a place for her. The author later came out on the nonbinary spectrum as well, which really brought home for me how many of us explore our identities through our writing before coming to terms with significant truths about ourselves.

The Ventriloquists

By E. R. Ramzipoor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ventriloquists as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“[A] remarkable saga.... Engrossing.” —Booklist, starred review

In this triumphant debut inspired by true events, a ragtag gang of journalists and resistance fighters risk everything for an elaborate scheme to undermine the Reich.

The Nazis stole their voices. But they would not be silenced.

Brussels, 1943. Twelve-year-old street orphan Helene survives by living as a boy and selling copies of the country’s most popular newspaper, Le Soir, now turned into Nazi propaganda. Helene’s world changes when she befriends a rogue journalist, Marc Aubrion, who draws her into a secret network that publishes dissident underground newspapers.

The Nazis track down Aubrion’s…


Armageddon

By Robert Rankin,

Book cover of Armageddon: The Musical

This fantastical story stars Elvis Presley and a time travelling Brussels sproutneed I say more?from one of the most celebrated humorist authors going. The good news is, if you like it, there’s more in the series, then heaps of other crazy books by Rankin to devour. 

Armageddon

By Robert Rankin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Armageddon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the point of view of 2050, you're history

Theological warfare. Elvis on an epic time-travel journey - the Presliad. Buddhavision - a network bigger than God (and more powerful, too). Nasty nuclear leftovers. Naughty sex habits. Dalai Dan (the 153rd reincarnation of the Lama of that ilk) and Barry, the talkative Time Sprout. Even with all this excitement, you wouldn't think a backwater planet like Earth makes much of a splash in the galatic pond.

But the soap opera called The Earthers is making big video bucks in the intergalactic ratings race. And alien TV execs know exactly what…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Vienna, Austria, and 16th century?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Vienna, Austria, and 16th century.

Vienna Explore 32 books about Vienna
Austria Explore 36 books about Austria
16th Century Explore 54 books about 16th century