Pieter Bruegel and the Idea of Human Nature

Elizabeth Honig '82

In 16th-century Northern Europe, during a time of religious and political conflict, Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel turned his critical eye to humanity’s labors and pleasures, its foibles and rituals of daily life in landscapes, biblical scenes, and depictions of peasant life. Much like the great humanist scholar Erasmus of Rotterdam, Bruegel questioned how well we really know ourselves and how we know, or visually read, others. The superbly illustrated Pieter Bruegel and the Idea of Human Nature examines how Bruegel’s art and ideas enabled people to ponder what it meant to be human. (University of Chicago Press, 2019)

Elizabeth Honig '82 is professor of European art history at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Jan Brueghel and the Senses of Scale and Painting and the Market in Early Modern Antwerp.