Welcome to day 20 of our Art Blogmas. Today we’re hosting an interesting painting made by Pieter Bruegel the Elder – The Census at Bethlehem.

Art Blogmas 2020

Pieter Bruegel the Elder was a Renaissance painter who lived in Flanders during the 16th century. He is well known for his detailed paintings filled with many characters. We already presented one of his works on day two of  Culture Tourist’s Art Blogmas.

Read more: Pieter Bruegel the Elder in Belgium

Pieter Bruegel the Elder: The Census at Bethlehem

Pieter Bruegel painted The Census at Bethlehem in 1566. It’s quite a special painting for us because it’s one of the first paintings in art history with a large portion of it dedicated to the winter landscape.

Bruegel has set up the Biblical scene in a contemporary environment. We can see Mary and Joseph in the middle of the 16th century Flemish village. Gabled houses and a typical Belgian architecture are something that doesn’t quite belong to the Bible.

However, Bruegel isn’t showing a specific Flemish village. He is combining the architecture from different places. The ruins of the castle in the background are resembling the gates and towers of Amsterdam.

At the entrance to the house on the left, where Mary and Joseph are heading has the Habsburg coat of arms above its gates. Belgium in that time was under the rule of the Spanish branch of Habsburg family. Thus, Bruegel making some political connotations about foreign rule within his painting.

Read more: Let’s slow down with some art

As always, he’s filling the painting with many different characters and a lot of symbolism. From children playing and enjoying the winter activities to the threat of leprosy, we can find them all in this painting.

If you don’t want to miss other paintings I’m going to share with you in this year’s Art Blogmas, be sure to check in here tomorrow at 7:30 am. Or, follow along on Culture Tourist Facebook page and Instagram profile.