Museums and Art

“Beating the Babies”, Peter Brueghel the Elder - description of the painting

“Beating the Babies”, Peter Brueghel the Elder - description of the painting

Beating the Babies - Peter Brueghel the Elder. 109.2 x 158.1 cm

The famous art masterpiece “Beating the Babies” was created by Peter Brueghel the Elder from 1565-1567. Her plot is a genre scene.

Peter Bruegel wrote it in Brussels. In those years, outrage and arbitrariness reigned on the side of the Spanish army on Dutch soil. They inflicted defeats, killed people, did not spare babies. The artist was greatly shocked by the military events in the country and was very worried about the fate of his people. He created this picture during the revolutionary uprisings of the Dutch with Spanish Catholicism and feudalism. Its plot is based on the biblical story of the destruction of infants by order of King Herod. They are revered as holy martyrs who suffered for the sake of Jesus Christ. He himself was saved with his parents by fleeing to Egypt.

The picture is very difficult to contemplate. The artist created it, holding his soul and heart together. He stopped several times, quitting work, but thanks to patience and willpower he brought his valuable work to the end. He had tremendous performance. In the space of the multi-figure composition, red, yellow, brown, white colors are used.

The picture shows a Dutch village in winter. Armed people besieged her, mercenary soldiers engaged in looting, robbery and robbery. They committed punitive actions against civilians on the orders of the Duke and military commander of Alba. This terror is inhuman. Soldiers brutally cracked down on babies.

In the distance, horsemen with weapons in chain mail on horseback are visible. The detachment is led by a man in black clothes, the Duke of Alba. They broke into the village to exterminate the babies. Ahead is a pit filled with ice water. Savages are going to throw small children there. On the right and left in the picture, soldiers break into houses, look for babies and stab them with bayonets. Mothers fall unconscious to the ground. Near the wall of the house, a woman in a fainting state, surrounded by fellow villagers who want to help her.

In the center of the composition are several difficult episodes. The soldier has already grabbed the unfortunate baby and holds it with one hand. A helpless child hangs above the ground. The father probably suggests the squire to exchange the baby - the son for the daughter. The military needs only boys. The girl understands everything and pulls her father away from the soldier. Mother stands next to her arms outstretched. She begs for mercy, shocked by what is happening. In another episode, a horseman with a dog and a warrior with a sword are chasing a woman. They want her to tell where she hid the child. In the third story, a mother cries over a murdered baby. Her grief is great and inconsolable.

Three men ride horses, returning from the hunt. A local rescues them to intercede for fellow villagers. One of the soldiers calmly talks with people, explaining to them the tactics of the soldiers. The artist truly portrayed a cruel, inhuman reality. Criminals will face severe punishment for sins!

The picture can be used in the museum - exhibition interior and in the offices of public institutions.

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