Keith Moxey – Pieter Bruegel & the Feast of Fools

Moxey’s paper was my first exposure to the symbolism of  Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s (c. 1525-69) Festival of Fools, a now lost drawing which has been preserved in prints, such as the engraving by Pieter van der Heyden (c. 1530–after 1572).

The image is packed with fools and symbolism, and Moxey provides a detailed analysis of the imagery and its connection to the accompanying text. 

In addition, he argues that Bruegel’s work is purely an allegory of general human folly, citing other allegories of folly and suggesting there is little or no connection to the real world Feast of Fools, whether secular or ecclesiastical. 

We provide further details from Moxey’s paper in our accompanying Fooleum post on the Bruegel image.

This is a valuable analysis of a complex image, and should be read together with another paper which comments on and supplements it, namely:

Todd M. Richardson, ‘To See Yourself Within It: Bruegel’s Festival of Fools’, in Pieter Bruegel the Elder: art discourse in the sixteenth-century Netherlands (University of Leiden, 2007), pp. 155-187.

 

REFERENCES:

The Festival of Fools (after 1570), engraving by Pieter van der Heyden (c. 1530–after 1572); after Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525–69); Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1969.

Moxey, Keith, ‘Pieter Bruegel and the Feast of Fools’, The Art Bulletin, 64 (1982), pp. 640-646.

Richardson, T. M., ‘To See Yourself Within It: Bruegel’s Festival of Fools’, in Pieter Bruegel the Elder: art discourse in the sixteenth-century Netherlands (University of Leiden, 2007), pp. 155-187.

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