Pieter Bruegel - Hunters in the Snow (1564)
The painting shows a wintry scene in which three hunters are returning from an expedition accompanied by their dogs. By appearances the outing was not successful; the hunters appear to trudge wearily, and the dogs appear downtrodden and miserable. One man carries the "meagre corpse of a fox" illustrating the paucity of the hunt. People are cooking food on a fire, and, in the distance, skaters are gliding across the ice. The overall visual impression is one of a calm, cold, overcast day; the colors are muted whites and grays, the trees are bare of leaves, and wood smoke hangs in the air. Several adults and a child prepare food at an inn with an outside fire.
The landscape itself is a flat-bottomed valley (a river meanders through it) with jagged peaks visible on the far side. A watermill is seen with its wheel frozen stiff. In the distance, figures ice skate, play hockey with modern style sticks and curl on a frozen lake; they are rendered as silhouettes.
Completion Date: 1564
Original size: 117 cm × 162 cm
Art movement: Netherlandish Renaissance
Where was it painted: Antwerp, Belgium
Medium: Oil on wood panel
Where can I see it: Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria
Look out for.. six birds, the sign for an inn, and a woman carrying a bundle of firewood.
Did you know? Brueghel got the nickname 'Bruegel the Peasant' because he would sometimes disguise himself as a peasant, to meet people and get inspiration for the figures in his paintings.