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Details & Cataloguing

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After Pieter Bruegel the Elder
THE CHILDREN'S GAMES
bears signature and date lower right: 'N. Brvegel 1560' / 'JV' (in ligature) 'Eisennlei'[?] / '1955'

oil on panel


This is a twentieth-century copy after the artist's widely known and highly unusual painting of 1560, which hangs today in the famous 'Bruegel Room' in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (inv. no. 1017).1 It has been interpreted in a variety of ways, from an encyclopaedia of contemporary children’s games (some 80 have been identified, including rolling hoops, walking on stilts, riding hobby-horses, playing leap-frog, doing handstands and even inflating pigs’ bladders), to a moral lesson for adults, comparing the seriousness with which children engage in ultimately futile activities with the foolishness of human behaviour.

1 https://www.khm.at/objektdb/detail/321/?offset=0&lv=list


Unframed: 112.9 x 165.2 cm.; 44 1/2 x 65 in. Framed: 126.5 x 176 cm.; 49 7/8 x 69 1/4 in.
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Provenance

Anonymous sale ('The Property of a European Family'), Amsterdam, Christie's, 5 April 2007, lot 1114 (as part of a pair), where acquired by the present owner.

Old Master Copies Online

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London