From Yohanan's list on European art, culture, and history.
Although it is published as a coffee-table book with beautiful and carefully prepared illustrations, this is the best biography of Pieter Bruegel and a cultural study of his times and works. Magnificently written, exuberantly rich, it will please anybody interested in early modern history, art, Reformation, and colonial wars. This is the book to read slowly, as one drinks vintage wine.
Why should I read it?
What is this book about?
The life and times of Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1526/30-1569) were marked by stark cultural conflict. He witnessed religious wars, the Duke of Alba's brutal rule as governor of the Netherlands, and the palpable effects of the Inquisition. To this day, the Flemish artist remains shrouded in mystery. We know neither where nor exactly when he was born. But while early scholarship emphasized the vernacular character of his painting and graphic work, modern research has attached greater importance to its humanistic content.
Starting out as a print designer for publisher Hieronymus Cock, Bruegel produced numerous print series that were…