Pieter Bruegel, 16th Century Flemish artist

The Fantastic Journey of Pieter Bruegel, by Anders C. Shafer
(Dutton Children’s Books, NY: 2002), 40pp.

I stumbled across this book one evening in a bookstore and was really interested in the story of this painter. I did not previously know about Pieter Bruegel, but searching through some sources I discovered that he is generally considered the greatest Flemish painter of the 16th century (one web source can be seen here).

This book tells the story of Bruegel’s two year journey from Antwerp (his home) to Rome and back again. This trip, apparently, had a profound impact on him and prepared the way for him to be considered a master. Shafer has pieced together about the journey from letters and other sources and provides along the way an introduction to key themes in the artist’s work. The story is told in a way that will be engaging for children and it is nicely illustrated. The end of the book contains small copies of some of Bruegel’s well known pieces with a paragraph explaining each painting.

This book is a good bit different from other books I have mentioned here but we enjoyed it and found it a good way to discuss an important person in the world of art. With his setting, his story is also significantly linked to the Reformation.

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