Producing the Vernacular: Antwerp, Cultural Archaeology and the Bruegelian Peasant

Johannes and Lucas van Doetecum (after Pieter Bruegel),  Kermis at Hoboken, 1559, British Museum, London

From the mid-sixteenth century, Antwerp saw an explosion of printed histories, etymological research into place names, and Netherlandish dialects, as well as the publication of Dutch dictionaries and grammars. Simultaneously, Antwerp’s art market saw a boom in the production of peasant scenes and the rising fame of Pieter Bruegel the Elder. In this article, I will argue that in both pictorial and textual representation, the peasant acted as a metaphoric vehicle, a type of living archaeological record and embodiment of local history, central to the production of a uniquely “Netherlandish” vernacular cultural identity.

DOI: 10.5092/jhna.2011.3.1.3

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Ethan Matt Kavaler and Todd Richardson for including a shorter version of this essay in their session “Antwerp and Its Boundaries, 1550–1570” at the 2010 Historians of Netherlandish Art conference, as well as the two anonymous readers for the JHNA for their incisive comments.

Anonymous German,  Map of Holland, from Sebastian Münster, Cosmog, 1550,  British Museum, London
Fig. 1 Anonymous German, Map of Holland, from Sebastian Münster, Cosmographiae universalis, 1550, fol. 513, woodcut, 25.3 x 17.4cm, London, British Museum (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Abraham Ortelius,  Arx Britannica,  1566–68,
Fig. 2 Abraham Ortelius, Arx Britannica, 1566–68, engraving, 32.4 x 23.2 cm, London, British Library (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Johannes and Lucas van Doetecum (after Pieter Bruegel),  Kermis at Hoboken, 1559,  British Museum, London
Fig. 3 Johannes and Lucas van Doetecum (after Pieter Bruegel), Kermis at Hoboken, 1559, engraving, 32.7 x 51.6 cm, London, British Museum (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Pieter van der Borcht,  Connubia, from Aurei Saeculi, 1596,  British Library, London
Fig. 4 Pieter van der Borcht, Connubia, from Aurei Saeculi, 1596, engraving, 7 x 11.4 cm, London, British Library (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Pieter Bruegel,  Peasant Dance, 1568,  Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
Fig. 5 Pieter Bruegel, Peasant Dance, 1568, oil on panel, 114 x 164 cm, Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Pieter Bruegel,  Peasant Wedding, 1568,  Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
Fig. 6 Pieter Bruegel, Peasant Wedding, 1568, oil on panel, 114 x 164 cm, Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Pieter van der Borcht,  Frugalitas and Gula, from Aurei Saeculi, 1596,  British Library, London
Fig. 7 Pieter van der Borcht, Frugalitas and Gula, from Aurei Saeculi, 1596, engraving, 7 x 11.4 cm, London, British Library (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Claes Jansz Visscher,  Title page, from Regiunculae, et Villae Aliquot, 1612,  British Museum, London
Fig. 8 Claes Jansz Visscher, Title page, from Regiunculae, et Villae Aliquot Ducatus Brabantiae . . ., 1612, etching, 10.5 x 15.5 cm. British Museum, London, 1936,116.4 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
  1. 1. Cornelis Aurelius, Die cronycke van Hollandt, Zeelandt en Drieslant (Leiden: Jan Seversz., 1517). Chapter 13 (first division) discusses the site and the links to Britain. On the importance of the site in the early history of the Low Countries, see Wilfried Hessing, “Foreign Oppressor versus Civiliser: The Batavian Myth as a Source for Contrasting Associations with Rome in Dutch Historiography and Archaeology,” in Images of Rome: Perceptions of Ancient Rome in Europe and the United States in the Modern Age, ed. Richard Hingley ( = Journal of Roman Archaeology, supplement, 2001), 135; Karen Tilmans, Historiography and Humanism in Holland in the Age of Erasmus: Aurelius and the Divisiekroniek of 1517, trans. Sam Herman (Nieuwkroop: De Graaf, 1992), 135. A summary of current archaeology on Katwijk can be found in J. E. A. Boomgaard, et al., ed., De uitwateringssluizen van Katwijk 1404–1984, vol. 13 (Leiden Hollandse Studiën, 1984).

  2. 2. Sebastian Münster, Cosmographiae universalis (Basel: Henri Petri, 1550), 513.

  3. 3. British Museum, C.9.D.4. On Ortelius’s map, see Alain Schnapp, The Discovery of Time: The Origins of Archaeology, trans. Ian Kinnes and Gillian Varndell (London: British Museum Press, 1996), 139; J. H. F. Bloemers and M. D. de Weerd, “Van Brittenburg naar Lugdunum,” in De uitwateringssluizen van Katwijk, 48; R. W Karrow, “Abraham Ortelius: Een introductie,” in Abraham Ortelius: Cartograaf en humanist, ed. Pierre Cockshaw, et al. (Turnhout, Antwerp, and Brussels: Brepols, Museum Plantin-Moretus, and Koninklijk Bibliotheek im België, 1998), 26; Tine Luk Meganck, “Erudite Eyes: Artists and Antiquarians in the Circle of Abraham Ortelius (1527–1598)” (PhD diss., Princeton University, 2003), 27.

  4. 4. On May 8, 1566, Guido Laurinius wrote to Ortelius about the site, referring to inscriptions given to Ortelius by Hubertus Goltzius, who according to Laurinius had “oude marmeren steen van de Arx Britannica gecopieerd.” See J. H. Hessels, Abrahami Ortelii epistulae (Cambridge: Typis Academiae, 1887), 34–36.Tine Luk Meganck has argued therefore that all three were working on the map in the period 1566 to 1568, when a payment in the archives of the Plantin press records payment for the printing of a map of the Arx Britannica to take to the Frankfurt fair. See Tine L. Meganck, “Abraham Ortelius, Hubertus Goltzius en Guido Laurinus en de studie van de Arx Britannica,” Koninklijke Nederlandse Oudheidkundige Bond 98, no. 5/6 (1999): 226–36. The Plantin record, referring to “In Martio 1568. Francofordiae. ‘Arx Britannica’ st. 7” can be found in Jan Denucé, Oud-Nederlandse Kaartmakers in betrekking met Plantijn (Amsterdam: Meridian, 1964), 2:161.

  5. 5. Published in the Netherlands as: Lodovico Guicciardini, Description de tout le Païs bas (Antwerp: William Silvius, 1567), 243–44.

  6. 6. Francis Haskell, History and Its Images: Art and the Interpretation of the Past (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1993), 111.

  7. 7. Guicciardini, Description, 243–44.

  8. 8. See, for example, the 1550 Nederlandsche spellynghe published in Ghent by Joas Lambrecht and Anton t’Sestich’s 1576 work Orthographia Linguae Belgicae. For a compendium of Dutch dictionaries of the period, see F. Claes, Lijst van Nederlandse woordenlijsten en woordenboeken gedruckt tot 1600 (Nieuwkoop: B. de Graaf, 1974), as well as Pieter Geyl, The Revolt of the Netherlands 1555–1609 (London: Ernest Benn, 1966), 273.

  9. 9. Cornelis van Ghistele, Deerste sesse boecken van Aeneas (Antwerp, 1556), f. π4r. I am grateful to an insightful paper given by Femke Hemelaar at the conference Understanding Art in Antwerp, 1540–1580: Classicizing the Popular, Popularizing the Classic, Groningen Research School for the Humanities, Groningen, Netherlands, January 23–24, 2008, for bringing van Ghistele’s work to my attention.

  10. 10. Author’s foreword in Jan van der Werve, Het Tresoor der Duytsscher Talen (Antwerp: Hans de Laet, 1553).

  11. 11. This phenomenon was not limited to the Dutch but was experienced across Europe. See Jean-Claude Margolin, “Science et nationalisme linguistique ou la bataille pour l’étymologie au XVI siècle,” in TheFairest Flower: The Emergenceof Linguistic National Consciousness in Renaissance Europe, International Conference of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, University of California at Los Angeles, December 12–13, 1983 (Florence: Presso l’Academia della Crusca, 1985),139–65. In his recent book, Walter Gibson discusses the emergence of such “linguistic nationalism” as a key factor in the popularity of proverb imagery in the Low Countries. See Gibson, Figures of Speech: Picturing Proverbs in Renaissance Netherlands (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 2010), 13–17. See also the foundational study of the development of the Dutch vernacular, L. van den Branden, Het Streven naar verheerlijking, zuivering en opbouw van het Nederlands in de 16de eeuw (Ghent: Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie voor Taal- en Letterkunde, 1956).

  12. 12. Jeroen Jansen, “Purity and the Language of the Court in the Late Sixteenth and Seventeenth- Century Netherlands,” in The Vulgar Tongue, ed. Fiona Somerset and Nicholas Watson (Philadelphia: Penn State Press, 2003), 166–70.

  13. 13. See Johannes Gropius Becanus, Origines Antwerpianae (Antwerp: Plantin, 1569). This claim was by no means universally accepted, however, and would be derided later by Justus Lipsius and Joseph Justus Scaliger. See Lipsius’s letter to Hendrik Schotti in Lipsius, Epistolarum selectarum centuria prima ad Belgas (Antwerp: Moretus, 1602 ), which disputes such an attempt to reconstruct a speculative history of the Dutch language. Scaliger’s attack on Becanus was even more direct: “Never have I read greater nonsense, never have I seen or heard greater irresponsibility (Nunquam legi maiores nugas, nunquam insigniorem temeritatem vidi neque audivi). ” See “Castigationes,” in Julius Caesar Scaliger, M. Verrrii Flacci quae extant. Et Sex. Pompeii Festi de verborem significatione libri xx (Paris: M. Patissonum, 1576): xvi.

  14. 14. Becanus’s Origines Antwerpianae was the first such account of the Dutch language, though histories of other European languages, such as Claude Tolomei’s 1555 work on the history of Italian, Il Cesano: De la lingua toscana, had appeared earlier.

  15. 15. See Becanus, Origines Antwerpianae,and Petrus Divaeus,De galliae beligicae antiquitatibus, (Antwerp: Plantin, 1584). Divaeus’s work was first published in Simons Schardius, Rerum germanicarum scriptures varii (Frankfurt, 1565).

  16. 16. The first two books are reproduced in J. C. M. Riemsdijk, “De twee eerste musyckboekskens van Tielman Susato: Bijdrage tot het Nederlandsch Volkslied in de 16de eeuw,” Tijdschrift der Vereeniging voor Noord-Nederlands Muziekgeschiedenis 3, no. 2 (1888): 61–110. See also Musyck boexken:Dutch Songs for Four Voices, ed. Timothy McTaggert (Madison, Wis.: A-R Editions, 1997).

  17. 17. Symon Andriessoon, Duytsche Adagia ofte spreecwoorden, ed. Mark Meadows and Anneke C. G. Fleurkens (Hilversum: Verloren, 2003 [originally published in 1550]).

  18. 18. On the Kermis of Hoboken, see: A. Monballieu, “De ‘Kermis van Hoboken’ van P. Bruegel, J. Grimmer en G. Mostaert,” Jaarboek van het Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten (1974): 139–69; Hans Mielke, Pieter Bruegel: Die Zeichnungen (Turnhout: Brepols, 1996), no. 44 ; Nadine M. Orenstein, ed., Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Drawings and Prints (New Haven, New York, and London: Metropolitan Museum of Art and Yale University Press, 2001), no. 80

  19. 19. Michel de Montaigne would be an advocate of this view of custom. See William J. Bouwsma, The Waning of the Renaissance, 1550–1640, (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000), 47.

  20. 20. On the rise of the peasant genre in Antwerp, see Larry Silver, Peasant Scenes and Landscapes: The Rise of Pictorial Genre in the Antwerp Art Market (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006), chapter 6. Silver argues that these images are based upon social distancing, but that, with the innovations of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, they become considerably more tolerant and aimed at amusing rather than exposing sinful behavior. Two foundational studies on peasant imagery as satire and as a vehicle for social distinction are HansJoachim Raupp, Bauernsatiren: Entstehung und Entwicklung des bäuerlichen Genres in der deutschen und niederländischen Kunst ca. 1470–1570 (Niederzier: Lukassen, 1986), and Paul Vandenbroeck, Beeldvan de andere, vertoog over het zelf (Antwerp: Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunst, 1987).

  21. 21. The literature on Bruegel’s peasant scenes is vast, but three relatively recent monographs on the artist discuss the satiric, comedic, and socioeconomic readings of Bruegel’s images: Margaret A Sullivan,Bruegel’s Peasants: Art and Audience in the Northern Renaissance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), Ethan Matt Kavaler, Pieter Bruegel: Parables of Order and Enterprise (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), and Walter Gibson, Pieter Bruegel and the Art of Laughter (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 2006). For a fascinating discussion of the interrelation between Bruegel’s peasant scenes and contemporary chorographies, see Nils Büttner, Die Erfindung der Landschaft: Kosmographie und Landschaftskunst im Zeitalter Bruegels (Göttingen: Vandenboeck and Ruprecht, 2000). In some respect, my own research seeks to take similar source material on the history and geography of the Low Countries as it was being written in the sixteenth century and apply it to Bruegel’s peasant scenes.

  22. 22. Timothy Riggs, “Hieronymus Cock: Printmaker and Publisher” (PhD diss., Yale University, 1971), 207–11. Plantin also often sold prints for Cock overseas alongside his international book shipments, see A. J. J. Delen , Histoire de la gravuredans les anciens Pays-Bas et dans les provinces belges (Paris: Les Èditions d’Art et d’Histoire, 1935), 2:151–53.

  23. 23. Although it is known that Abraham Ortelius owned one small grisaille by the artist and that the renowned art collector Cardinal Granvelle owned a number of works by Bruegel, in terms of numbers of pictures owned, Bruegel’s “typical” clientele are considered to be Antwerp patrons from the mercantile class like Noirot and Jonghelinck.

  24. 24. On the paintings collection of Niclaes Jonghelinck, see Iain Buchanan, “The Collection of Niclaes Jongelinck: I. ‘Bacchus and the Planets,’” Burlington Magazine 132, no. 1043 (1990): 102–13; and Iain Buchanan, “The Collection of Niclaes Jongelinck: II. The ‘Months’ by Pieter Bruegel the Elder,” Burlington Magazine 132, no. 1049 (1990): 541–50.

  25. 25. See Herman De La Fontaine, “The History of Guicciardini’s Description of the Low Countries,” Quaerendo 12, no.1 (1982): 22–51.

  26. 26. See Justus Müller-Hofstede, “Zur Interpretation von Bruegels Landschaft: Äesthetischer Landschaftsbegriff und Stoische Weltbetrachtung,” in Pieter Bruegel und seine Welt, ed. Otto Georg von Simson and Matthias Winner (Berlin: Mann, 1979), 73–142; and Buttner, Die Erfindung der Landschaft.

  27. 27. Donald R. Kelley, “Altera Natur: The Idea of Custom in Historical Perspective,” in New Perspectives on Renaissance Thought: Essays in the History of Science, Education and Philosophy, ed. John Henry and Sarah Hutton (London: Gerald Duckworth, 1990), 83–92. Larry Silver has written a compelling article about how Renaissance German writers and artists conceived of Germanic identity as being connected to the forest, directly linking national identity, tradition, and the physical environment. See Larry Silver, “Forest Primeval: Albrecht Altdorfer and the German Wilderness Landscape,” Simiolus 13, no. 1 (1983): 4–43.

  28. 28. Margaret T. Hogden, Early Anthropology in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1964), 23.

  29. 29. Abraham Ortelius, Aurei Saeculi Imago sive germanorum veerum vita, mores, ritus & religio (Antwerp: P. Galle, 1596). For a Dutch translation of the text, see Aurei Saeculi Imago of Spiegel van de Gouden Tijd, ed. Joost Depuydt and Jeanine De Landtsheer (Wildert: De Carbolineum, 1999).

  30. 30. Guicciardini, Description, 39.

  31. 31. Guicciardini, Description, 39.

  32. 32. For an overview of the historical understanding of the Batavians, see Sandra Langereis, “Van bote boeren tot beschaafde burgers: Oudheidkundige beelden van de Bataven 1500–1800,” in De Bataven verhalen van den verdwenen volk, ed. Louis Swinkels  (Amsterdam and Nijmegen: De Bataafsche leeuw and Museum Het Valkhof, 2004), 72–108.

  33. 33. Tacitus, The Agricola and the Germania, trans. H. Mattingly (London: Penguin, 1970), 25, 109.

  34. 34. I. Schöffer, “The Batavian Myth during the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries,” in Britain and the Netherlands V, ed. J. S. Bromley and E. H. Kossmann (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1975), 87. Although there was not a definitive and complete Dutch translation of Tacitus until the early seventeenth century, translations were available in German (1526), Italian (1544), and French (1548). On the history of vernacular translations of Tacitus, see Else-Lily Etter, Tacitus in der Geistgeschichte des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts (Basel and Stuttgart: Helbing & Lichtenhahn, 1966).

  35. 35. “vele notabele puncten die Julius cesar en cornelius tacitus bescreven hebben / aldus will ic dat hier mede in dese cronike insereren,” in Die cronycke van Hollandt, fol. 11r. For a discussion of Aurelius’s citation of Tacitus, see Tilmans, Historiography and Humanism, 252; and Karin Tilmans, “Aeneas, Bato and Civilis, the Forefathers of the Dutch: The Origins of the Batavian Tradition in the Dutch Humanistic Historiography,” in Renaissance Culture in Context: Theory and Practice, ed. Jean R. Brink and William F. Gentrup (Aldershot: Scholar Press, 1993), 131.

  36. 36. Dirk van Miert, “La Batavia de Adriano Junio (1511–1575),” in Humanismo y pervivencia del mundo clásico: Homenaje al profesor Antonio Fontán, ed. José Maestere Maestere, et al. (Madrid: Instituto de Estudios Humanísticos-CSIC, 2002), 114.

  37. 37. Martial’s epigram reads: “‘Tune es, tune,’ ait, ‘ille Martialis cuius nequitias iocosque novit aurem qui modo non habet Batavam?’”: Epigrams, trans. James Michie (New York: Modern Library, 2002),6:82. The English translation of Erasmus’s adage is from Margaret Mann Phillips, ed. and trans., The ‘Adages’ of Erasmus: A Study with Translations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1964), 209–12. On Erasmus and the Batavians, see M. E. H. N. Mout, “‘Het Bataafse Oor’ De lotgevallen van Erasmus’ adagium ‘Aurij Batava’ in de Nederlandse geschiedschrijving,” Koninklijk Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen 56, no. 2 (1993); Ari Wesseling, “‘Are the Dutch Uncivilised?’: Erasmus on the Batavians and His National Identity,” Erasmus of Rotterdam Society Yearbook 13 (1993): 68–102; István Bejczy, “Drie humanisten en een mythe de betekenis van Erasmus, Aurelius en Geldenhouwer voor de Bataafse kwestie,” Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis 109, no. 4 (1996): 467–84; and István Bejczy, “Erasmus Becomes a Netherlander,” Sixteenth-Century Journal 28, no. 2 (1997): 387–99.

  38. 38. Guicciardini, Description, 38; Münster, Cosmographiae, 326.

  39. 39. “Maiorem partem victus in lacte, carne, & caseo consistere, docet Caesar”: Ortelius, Aurei Saeculi Imago, B3.

  40. 40. “goede weiden vol van beesten ende…seer vruchtbar ende wasbaer van saeylant”: Die cronycke van Hollandt, fol. 91r.

  41. 41. The ‘Adages’ of Erasmus, 211.

  42. 42. Lodovico Guicciardini, Description, 37–39.

  43. 43. A selection of recent literature on the panel, in the Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum, includes: Walter S. Gibson, “Some Notes on Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Peasant Wedding Feast,” Art Quarterly 28, no. 3 (1965): 194–208; Müller-Hofstede, “Zur Interpretation von Bruegel’s Landschaft, Äesthetischer Lanschaftsbegriff und stoische Weltbetrachtung,” 141–42; Raupp, Bauernsatiren, 278–81, 283–87, 290–92 ; Margaret D. Carroll, “Peasant Festivity and Political Identity in the Sixteenth Century,” Art History 10, no. 3 (1987): 295-302; Walter Gibson, “Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Two Studies” (paper presented at the Franklin D. Murphy Lectures XI, University of Kansas, Lawrence, 1991): 21–39; and Sullivan, Bruegel’s Peasants, 110–15.

  44. 44. Guicciardini, Description, 37–38.

  45. 45. On rijstpap, a kind of rice pudding served on festive occasions, see Gibson, Pieter Bruegel and the Art of Laughter, 88. Recent literature on the Peasant Weddingincludes: Raupp, Bauernsatiren, 278–81, 283–87, 290–92; Carroll, “Peasant Festivity and Political Identity in the Sixteenth Century,”295–302; Sullivan, Bruegel’s Peasants; Kavaler, Pieter Bruegel, 20–21, 59–61, 149–83,; Gibson, “Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Two Studies,” 21–39; and Gibson, Pieter Bruegel and the Art of Laughter, 17–22, 50–54, 66–69, 102–3.

  46. 46. Margaret D. Carroll first noted this resemblance in “Peasant Festivity and Political Identity in the Sixteenth Century,” 289–314.

  47. 47. The ‘Adages’ of Erasmus, 211.

  48. 48. Ortelius, Aurei Saeculi Imago, B3.

  49. 49. Aurelius, Die cronycke van Hollandt, chapter 18 (first division).

  50. 50. “Ilz ont puis apres ce vice de trop boire…Mais ils sont en qu’elque endroit excusables, car estant l’air du pais le plus du temps humide & melancolique.”: Guicciardini, Description, 37–38.

  51. 51. On the ethnographic detail of Bruegel’s peasant weddings, see the foundational work of Svetlana Alpers, “Bruegel’s Festive Peasants,” Simiolus 6, no. 3/4 (1972/73): 163–76.

  52. 52. Orteliuis, Aurei Saeculi Imago, “Connubia”; and Aurelius, Die cronycke van Hollandt,  chapter 18 (first division).

  53. 53. In his short pamphlet on the Golden Age, for example, Ortelius cited a bevy of antique authors in each section of his work, including Julius Caesar, Seneca, Tacitus, Ptolemy, and Herodotus.

  54. 54. The question of whether Bruegel himself visited peasant festivities originates in Karel van Mander’s claim that the artist attended peasant weddings dressed in the guise of a peasant. See van Mander, The Lives of the Illustrious Netherlandish and German Painters from the First edition of the Schilder-boek (1603–1604), ed. Hessel Miedema, trans. Michael Hoyle, et al., 6 vols. (Doornspijk: Davaco, 1994 [originally published in 1624]), vol. 4, fol. 233r. Most recently the practice by Bruegel’s contemporaries of visiting a peasant kermisor other festivities has been addressed by Gibson, Pieter Bruegel and the Art of Laughter, who persuasively cites a range of textual and pictorial evidence that such visits did take place.

  55. 55. This proverb was paraphrased by Ovid: “Ista vetus pietas, aevo moritura futuro, / Rustica saturno regna tenente fuit.” Epistulae IV, 131–32. On the particular history of this proverb in the Low Countries of the Middle Ages, see A. P. Obrán, “Het spreekwoordelijke beeld van de ‘rusticus,’ de boer, in de Middeleeuwen,” in Gewone mensen in de Middeleeuwen, ed. R. E. V Stuip and C. Vellekoop (Utrecht: HES, 1987), 75.

  56. 56. Reinhart Koselleck, Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time, trans. Keith Tribe (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), 165.

  57. 57. Anthony Kemp, The Estrangement of the Past: A Study in the Origins of Modern Historical Consciousness (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), 157. On the triangular relation between European peasant, Europe’s own pagan past, and the exotic peoples of the New World, see Michael T. Ryan, “”Assimilating New Worlds in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries,” Comparative Studies in Society in History 23 (1981): 537.

  58. 58. Robert Muchembled, Popular Culture and Elite Culture in France 1400–1750 (Baton Rouge and London: Louisiana State University Press, 1985),48.

  59. 59. The question of whether Bruegel’s peasants were to be viewed as either uniquely moralizing or comedic has dominated the history of Bruegel scholarship – from the famous 1970s scholarly debate on Bruegel’s peasants between Svetlana Alpers and Hessel Miedema in the pages of Simiolus (See Alpers, “Festive Peasants,” and Hessel Miedema, “Realism and Comic Mode: The Peasant,” Simiolus 9 (1977): 205–19), the discussion of sixteenth-century peasant imagery has evolved in subsequent decades into a wider consideration of the ways in which the figure of the Netherlandish peasant could function in humanist culture and in the evolution of entrepreneurial, communal, and political identity. See, to name but a few: Margaret D. Carroll, “Peasant Festivity and Political Identity;” Ethan Matt Kavaler, “Pieter Bruegel’s Fall of Icarus and the Noble Peasant,Jaarboek van het Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten (1986): 83–98; Kavaler, Pieter Bruegel; Sullivan, Bruegel’s Peasants; Gibson, Pieter Bruegel and the Art of Laughter; andJürgen Müller, Das Paradox als Bildform: Studien zur Ikonologie Pieter Bruegel d. Ä. (Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 1999), 110. Rather than viewing comedy or satire as the dominant mode of reading Bruegel’s peasant pictures, I agree with B. A. M. Ramakers’ assessment of Bruegel’s representations of the peasantry as straddling the divide between vernacular comedy and humanist wit. Ramakers argues that the peasant in sixteenth-century Netherlandish culture is a Janus-like figure of internal exoticism and self-reflection. SeeB. A. M. Ramakers, “Kinderen van Saturnus: Afstand en nabijheid van boeren in de beeldende kunst en het toneel van de zestiende eeuw,” Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 53 (2002): 13–52; and B. A. M. Ramakers, “Bruegel en de rederijkers: Schilderkunst en literatuur in de zestiende eeuw,” Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 47 (1997): 81–105.

  60. 60. The question posed was “Welck handwerck oirboirlijest is van doene, en eerlijcst, nochtans seer cleyn gedacht?” and all competing chambers cited landwinnighe or landbouwinghe. See Spelen van sinne vol scoone moralisacien uutleggingen ende bedidenissen op alle loeflijcke consten… (Antwerp: Willem Silvius, 1562). Similarly, in a procession for the Feast of the Assumption in Antwerp in 1564, rederijkers dressed as peasants were part of the representation of a “vale of fruitfulness”; example cited in Walter Gibson, “Festive Peasants before Bruegel: Three Case Studies and Their Implications,” Simiolus 31, no. 4 (2004/5): 305.

  61. 61. The constraints of space do not permit an exhaustive bibliography on the satirical view of Bruegel’s peasant scenes, but for further literature, see Miedema, “Realism and Comic Mode: The Peasant;” Raupp, Bauernsatiren, 316–21; and Sullivan, Bruegel’s Peasants.. On the figure of the peasant in Netherlandish literature of the sixteenth century, see the foundational work by P. J. Meertens and Jan H. de Groot, De Lof van den Boer: De boer in de noord- en zuidnederlandsche letterkunde van de middleeuwen tot 1880(Amsterdam: C. V. Allert de Lange, 1942). For a recent summary of literature, see Herman Pleij, “Restyling ‘Wisdom,’ Remodeling the Nobility, Caricaturing the Peasant: Urban Literature in the Late Medieval Low Countries,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 32, no. 4 (2002): 689–704.

  62. 62. There were approximately 370 such villas within 25 kilometers of Antwerp in the later half of the sixteenth century, see Roland Baetens, “La ‘Belezza’ et la ‘Magnificenza’: Symboles de pouvoir de la villa rustica dans la région anversoise aux temps modernes,” Nouvelle approches concernant la culture de l’habitat Antwerp (Turnhout: Brepols, 1991), 160.

  63. 63. On the development and construction of the rural suburbs and the Nieuwstadof Antwerp in the period, see Hugo Soly, Urbanisme en kapitalisme te Antwerpen in de zestiende eeuw: De Stedebouwkundige en industriële ondernemingen van Gilbert van Schoonbeke (Brussels: Pro Civitate, 1977). On land reclamation of the period, see Paul Lindemans, Geschiedenis van de Landbouw in België, 2 vols. (Antwerp: De Sikkel, 1952). According to van Mander, Bruegel was commissioned by the Brussels city authorities to represent the excavation of the canal linking Antwerp and Brussels, but he died before completing (or possibly even starting) the project. See van Mander, The Lives of the Illustrious Netherlandish and German Painters , fol.233v.

  64. 64. Joseph Koerner has described Bruegel’s ethnographic attention to the re-creation of peasant objects in paint and the meticulous description of material culture as encouraging exactly this kind of response and operating like a mask, concealing Bruegel’s sophisticated pictorial manner. Joseph Leo Koerner, “Unmasking the World: Bruegel’s Ethnography,” Common Knowledge 10, no. 2 (2004): 229.

  65. 65. For a summary of the printed predecessors to Bruegel’s peasant images, see Silver, Peasant Scenes and Landscapes, chapter 6; for a discussion of domestic objects as a precursor to painted peasant scenes, see Claudia Goldstein, “Keeping Up Appearances: The Social Significance of Domestic Decoration in Antwerp, 1508–1600 ,” (PhD diss., Columbia University, 2003); and for the importance of the now almost entirely lost medium of watercolor painting on cloth, see Odilia Bonebakker, “Bruegel’s Transgressions: Watercolor and Oil in Sixteenth-Century Antwerp” (paper presented at the Historians of Netherlandish Art conference, Crossing Boundaries, Amsterdam, Netherlands, May 28, 2010).

  66. 66. See Odilia Bonebakker, “Bruegel’s Transgressions,” as well as her upcoming PhD dissertation on this topic for Harvard University.

  67. 67. On the importance of arboreal and satyr imagery in the German Renaissance, see Silver, “Forest Primeval” and Christopher Wood, Albrecht Altdorfer and the Origins of Landscape (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993). On the similtude between John White’s watercolours of Amerindians and ancient Britons, see Sam Smiles, “John White and British Antiquity: Savage Origins in the Context of Tudor Historiography,” in European Visions, American Voices, ed. Kim Sloane (London: British Museum Research Publication 2009), 106–12.

  68. 68. Krista De Jonge’s unpublished paper, “Early Modern Architecture in the Southern and Northern Low Countries, New Challenges?” (paper presented at the Historians of Netherlandish Art conference, Crossing Boundaries, Amsterdam, Netherlands, May 27, 2010).

  69. 69. There is considerable scholarly interest in the original publication of the Small Landscape series, both in the authorship of the original designs and in the claim to lifelikeness (ad vivum) made on the title page of the second series. On the drawings, see Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann “Joos van Liere,” in Otto Georg von Simson and Matthias Winner, eds., Pieter Bruegel und seine Welt (Berlin: Kunsthistorischen Institut and Kupferstichkabinett, 1975), 17–28; Reinhard Liess “Die kleinen Landschaften Pieter Bruegels d. Ä. im Lichte seines Gesamtwerks,” Kunsthistorisches Jahrbuch Graz 15 (1979): 1–116; and 17 (1981): 35–150. On the Cock prints, see Jacqueline Burgers, ed.In de Vier Winden: De prentuigeverij van Hieronymus Cock 1507/10-1570 (Rotterdam: Museum Boymans can Beuningen, 1988): cat. nos. 31–32; Walter Gibson, Pleasant Places: The Rustic Landscape from Bruegel to Ruisdael (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 2000), 15–27; Stefaan Hautekeete, “Van Stad en Land: Het beeld van Brabant in de vroege topografische tekenkunst,” in Met passer en penseel: Brussel en het oude hertogdom Brabant in beeld (Brussels: Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, 2000), 46–57; and Alexandra Onuf, “Local Terrains: The Small Landscape Prints and the Depiction of the Countryside in Early Modern Antwerp” (PhD diss., Columbia University: 2005), as well as Onuf’s article in this issue of the Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art.

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______.Pieter Bruegel and the Art of Laughter. Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 2006.

———. “Festive Peasants before Bruegel: Three Case Studies and Their Implications.” Simiolus 31, no. 4 (2004/5): 292–309.

______. “Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Two Studies.” Paper presented at the Franklin D. Murphy Lectures XI, University of Kansas, Lawrence, 1991.

______.“Some Notes on Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Peasant Wedding Feast.” Art Quarterly 28, no. 3 (1965): 194–208.

———. Pleasant Places: The Rustic Landscape from Bruegel to Ruisdael. Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California, 2000.

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Haverkamp-Begemann, Egbert. “Joos van Liere.” In Pieter Bruegel und seine Welt, edited by Otto Georg von Simson and Matthias Winner,17–28. Berlin: Kunsthistorischen Institut and Kupferstichkabinett, 1975.

Hemelaar, Femke. “Bold and Fervid: The Ideology of Rhetorical Translation in Sixteenth-century Antwerp.” Paper given at Understanding Art in Antwerp,1540–80: Classicizing the Popular, Popularizing the Classic, Groningen, Netherlands, January 23–24, 2008. Groningen: Groningen Research School for the Study of Humanities, 2008.

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_______. Pieter Bruegel: Parables of Order and Enterprise. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

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Liess, Reinhard. “Die kleinen Landschaften Pieter Bruegels d. Ä. im Lichte seines Gesamtwerks.” Kunsthistorisches Jahrbuch Graz 15 (1979): 1–116; and 17 (1981): 35–150.

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List of Illustrations

Anonymous German,  Map of Holland, from Sebastian Münster, Cosmog, 1550,  British Museum, London
Fig. 1 Anonymous German, Map of Holland, from Sebastian Münster, Cosmographiae universalis, 1550, fol. 513, woodcut, 25.3 x 17.4cm, London, British Museum (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Abraham Ortelius,  Arx Britannica,  1566–68,
Fig. 2 Abraham Ortelius, Arx Britannica, 1566–68, engraving, 32.4 x 23.2 cm, London, British Library (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Johannes and Lucas van Doetecum (after Pieter Bruegel),  Kermis at Hoboken, 1559,  British Museum, London
Fig. 3 Johannes and Lucas van Doetecum (after Pieter Bruegel), Kermis at Hoboken, 1559, engraving, 32.7 x 51.6 cm, London, British Museum (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Pieter van der Borcht,  Connubia, from Aurei Saeculi, 1596,  British Library, London
Fig. 4 Pieter van der Borcht, Connubia, from Aurei Saeculi, 1596, engraving, 7 x 11.4 cm, London, British Library (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Pieter Bruegel,  Peasant Dance, 1568,  Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
Fig. 5 Pieter Bruegel, Peasant Dance, 1568, oil on panel, 114 x 164 cm, Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Pieter Bruegel,  Peasant Wedding, 1568,  Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
Fig. 6 Pieter Bruegel, Peasant Wedding, 1568, oil on panel, 114 x 164 cm, Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Pieter van der Borcht,  Frugalitas and Gula, from Aurei Saeculi, 1596,  British Library, London
Fig. 7 Pieter van der Borcht, Frugalitas and Gula, from Aurei Saeculi, 1596, engraving, 7 x 11.4 cm, London, British Library (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Claes Jansz Visscher,  Title page, from Regiunculae, et Villae Aliquot, 1612,  British Museum, London
Fig. 8 Claes Jansz Visscher, Title page, from Regiunculae, et Villae Aliquot Ducatus Brabantiae . . ., 1612, etching, 10.5 x 15.5 cm. British Museum, London, 1936,116.4 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]

Footnotes

  1. 1. Cornelis Aurelius, Die cronycke van Hollandt, Zeelandt en Drieslant (Leiden: Jan Seversz., 1517). Chapter 13 (first division) discusses the site and the links to Britain. On the importance of the site in the early history of the Low Countries, see Wilfried Hessing, “Foreign Oppressor versus Civiliser: The Batavian Myth as a Source for Contrasting Associations with Rome in Dutch Historiography and Archaeology,” in Images of Rome: Perceptions of Ancient Rome in Europe and the United States in the Modern Age, ed. Richard Hingley ( = Journal of Roman Archaeology, supplement, 2001), 135; Karen Tilmans, Historiography and Humanism in Holland in the Age of Erasmus: Aurelius and the Divisiekroniek of 1517, trans. Sam Herman (Nieuwkroop: De Graaf, 1992), 135. A summary of current archaeology on Katwijk can be found in J. E. A. Boomgaard, et al., ed., De uitwateringssluizen van Katwijk 1404–1984, vol. 13 (Leiden Hollandse Studiën, 1984).

  2. 2. Sebastian Münster, Cosmographiae universalis (Basel: Henri Petri, 1550), 513.

  3. 3. British Museum, C.9.D.4. On Ortelius’s map, see Alain Schnapp, The Discovery of Time: The Origins of Archaeology, trans. Ian Kinnes and Gillian Varndell (London: British Museum Press, 1996), 139; J. H. F. Bloemers and M. D. de Weerd, “Van Brittenburg naar Lugdunum,” in De uitwateringssluizen van Katwijk, 48; R. W Karrow, “Abraham Ortelius: Een introductie,” in Abraham Ortelius: Cartograaf en humanist, ed. Pierre Cockshaw, et al. (Turnhout, Antwerp, and Brussels: Brepols, Museum Plantin-Moretus, and Koninklijk Bibliotheek im België, 1998), 26; Tine Luk Meganck, “Erudite Eyes: Artists and Antiquarians in the Circle of Abraham Ortelius (1527–1598)” (PhD diss., Princeton University, 2003), 27.

  4. 4. On May 8, 1566, Guido Laurinius wrote to Ortelius about the site, referring to inscriptions given to Ortelius by Hubertus Goltzius, who according to Laurinius had “oude marmeren steen van de Arx Britannica gecopieerd.” See J. H. Hessels, Abrahami Ortelii epistulae (Cambridge: Typis Academiae, 1887), 34–36.Tine Luk Meganck has argued therefore that all three were working on the map in the period 1566 to 1568, when a payment in the archives of the Plantin press records payment for the printing of a map of the Arx Britannica to take to the Frankfurt fair. See Tine L. Meganck, “Abraham Ortelius, Hubertus Goltzius en Guido Laurinus en de studie van de Arx Britannica,” Koninklijke Nederlandse Oudheidkundige Bond 98, no. 5/6 (1999): 226–36. The Plantin record, referring to “In Martio 1568. Francofordiae. ‘Arx Britannica’ st. 7” can be found in Jan Denucé, Oud-Nederlandse Kaartmakers in betrekking met Plantijn (Amsterdam: Meridian, 1964), 2:161.

  5. 5. Published in the Netherlands as: Lodovico Guicciardini, Description de tout le Païs bas (Antwerp: William Silvius, 1567), 243–44.

  6. 6. Francis Haskell, History and Its Images: Art and the Interpretation of the Past (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1993), 111.

  7. 7. Guicciardini, Description, 243–44.

  8. 8. See, for example, the 1550 Nederlandsche spellynghe published in Ghent by Joas Lambrecht and Anton t’Sestich’s 1576 work Orthographia Linguae Belgicae. For a compendium of Dutch dictionaries of the period, see F. Claes, Lijst van Nederlandse woordenlijsten en woordenboeken gedruckt tot 1600 (Nieuwkoop: B. de Graaf, 1974), as well as Pieter Geyl, The Revolt of the Netherlands 1555–1609 (London: Ernest Benn, 1966), 273.

  9. 9. Cornelis van Ghistele, Deerste sesse boecken van Aeneas (Antwerp, 1556), f. π4r. I am grateful to an insightful paper given by Femke Hemelaar at the conference Understanding Art in Antwerp, 1540–1580: Classicizing the Popular, Popularizing the Classic, Groningen Research School for the Humanities, Groningen, Netherlands, January 23–24, 2008, for bringing van Ghistele’s work to my attention.

  10. 10. Author’s foreword in Jan van der Werve, Het Tresoor der Duytsscher Talen (Antwerp: Hans de Laet, 1553).

  11. 11. This phenomenon was not limited to the Dutch but was experienced across Europe. See Jean-Claude Margolin, “Science et nationalisme linguistique ou la bataille pour l’étymologie au XVI siècle,” in TheFairest Flower: The Emergenceof Linguistic National Consciousness in Renaissance Europe, International Conference of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, University of California at Los Angeles, December 12–13, 1983 (Florence: Presso l’Academia della Crusca, 1985),139–65. In his recent book, Walter Gibson discusses the emergence of such “linguistic nationalism” as a key factor in the popularity of proverb imagery in the Low Countries. See Gibson, Figures of Speech: Picturing Proverbs in Renaissance Netherlands (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 2010), 13–17. See also the foundational study of the development of the Dutch vernacular, L. van den Branden, Het Streven naar verheerlijking, zuivering en opbouw van het Nederlands in de 16de eeuw (Ghent: Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie voor Taal- en Letterkunde, 1956).

  12. 12. Jeroen Jansen, “Purity and the Language of the Court in the Late Sixteenth and Seventeenth- Century Netherlands,” in The Vulgar Tongue, ed. Fiona Somerset and Nicholas Watson (Philadelphia: Penn State Press, 2003), 166–70.

  13. 13. See Johannes Gropius Becanus, Origines Antwerpianae (Antwerp: Plantin, 1569). This claim was by no means universally accepted, however, and would be derided later by Justus Lipsius and Joseph Justus Scaliger. See Lipsius’s letter to Hendrik Schotti in Lipsius, Epistolarum selectarum centuria prima ad Belgas (Antwerp: Moretus, 1602 ), which disputes such an attempt to reconstruct a speculative history of the Dutch language. Scaliger’s attack on Becanus was even more direct: “Never have I read greater nonsense, never have I seen or heard greater irresponsibility (Nunquam legi maiores nugas, nunquam insigniorem temeritatem vidi neque audivi). ” See “Castigationes,” in Julius Caesar Scaliger, M. Verrrii Flacci quae extant. Et Sex. Pompeii Festi de verborem significatione libri xx (Paris: M. Patissonum, 1576): xvi.

  14. 14. Becanus’s Origines Antwerpianae was the first such account of the Dutch language, though histories of other European languages, such as Claude Tolomei’s 1555 work on the history of Italian, Il Cesano: De la lingua toscana, had appeared earlier.

  15. 15. See Becanus, Origines Antwerpianae,and Petrus Divaeus,De galliae beligicae antiquitatibus, (Antwerp: Plantin, 1584). Divaeus’s work was first published in Simons Schardius, Rerum germanicarum scriptures varii (Frankfurt, 1565).

  16. 16. The first two books are reproduced in J. C. M. Riemsdijk, “De twee eerste musyckboekskens van Tielman Susato: Bijdrage tot het Nederlandsch Volkslied in de 16de eeuw,” Tijdschrift der Vereeniging voor Noord-Nederlands Muziekgeschiedenis 3, no. 2 (1888): 61–110. See also Musyck boexken:Dutch Songs for Four Voices, ed. Timothy McTaggert (Madison, Wis.: A-R Editions, 1997).

  17. 17. Symon Andriessoon, Duytsche Adagia ofte spreecwoorden, ed. Mark Meadows and Anneke C. G. Fleurkens (Hilversum: Verloren, 2003 [originally published in 1550]).

  18. 18. On the Kermis of Hoboken, see: A. Monballieu, “De ‘Kermis van Hoboken’ van P. Bruegel, J. Grimmer en G. Mostaert,” Jaarboek van het Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten (1974): 139–69; Hans Mielke, Pieter Bruegel: Die Zeichnungen (Turnhout: Brepols, 1996), no. 44 ; Nadine M. Orenstein, ed., Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Drawings and Prints (New Haven, New York, and London: Metropolitan Museum of Art and Yale University Press, 2001), no. 80

  19. 19. Michel de Montaigne would be an advocate of this view of custom. See William J. Bouwsma, The Waning of the Renaissance, 1550–1640, (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000), 47.

  20. 20. On the rise of the peasant genre in Antwerp, see Larry Silver, Peasant Scenes and Landscapes: The Rise of Pictorial Genre in the Antwerp Art Market (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006), chapter 6. Silver argues that these images are based upon social distancing, but that, with the innovations of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, they become considerably more tolerant and aimed at amusing rather than exposing sinful behavior. Two foundational studies on peasant imagery as satire and as a vehicle for social distinction are HansJoachim Raupp, Bauernsatiren: Entstehung und Entwicklung des bäuerlichen Genres in der deutschen und niederländischen Kunst ca. 1470–1570 (Niederzier: Lukassen, 1986), and Paul Vandenbroeck, Beeldvan de andere, vertoog over het zelf (Antwerp: Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunst, 1987).

  21. 21. The literature on Bruegel’s peasant scenes is vast, but three relatively recent monographs on the artist discuss the satiric, comedic, and socioeconomic readings of Bruegel’s images: Margaret A Sullivan,Bruegel’s Peasants: Art and Audience in the Northern Renaissance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), Ethan Matt Kavaler, Pieter Bruegel: Parables of Order and Enterprise (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), and Walter Gibson, Pieter Bruegel and the Art of Laughter (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 2006). For a fascinating discussion of the interrelation between Bruegel’s peasant scenes and contemporary chorographies, see Nils Büttner, Die Erfindung der Landschaft: Kosmographie und Landschaftskunst im Zeitalter Bruegels (Göttingen: Vandenboeck and Ruprecht, 2000). In some respect, my own research seeks to take similar source material on the history and geography of the Low Countries as it was being written in the sixteenth century and apply it to Bruegel’s peasant scenes.

  22. 22. Timothy Riggs, “Hieronymus Cock: Printmaker and Publisher” (PhD diss., Yale University, 1971), 207–11. Plantin also often sold prints for Cock overseas alongside his international book shipments, see A. J. J. Delen , Histoire de la gravuredans les anciens Pays-Bas et dans les provinces belges (Paris: Les Èditions d’Art et d’Histoire, 1935), 2:151–53.

  23. 23. Although it is known that Abraham Ortelius owned one small grisaille by the artist and that the renowned art collector Cardinal Granvelle owned a number of works by Bruegel, in terms of numbers of pictures owned, Bruegel’s “typical” clientele are considered to be Antwerp patrons from the mercantile class like Noirot and Jonghelinck.

  24. 24. On the paintings collection of Niclaes Jonghelinck, see Iain Buchanan, “The Collection of Niclaes Jongelinck: I. ‘Bacchus and the Planets,’” Burlington Magazine 132, no. 1043 (1990): 102–13; and Iain Buchanan, “The Collection of Niclaes Jongelinck: II. The ‘Months’ by Pieter Bruegel the Elder,” Burlington Magazine 132, no. 1049 (1990): 541–50.

  25. 25. See Herman De La Fontaine, “The History of Guicciardini’s Description of the Low Countries,” Quaerendo 12, no.1 (1982): 22–51.

  26. 26. See Justus Müller-Hofstede, “Zur Interpretation von Bruegels Landschaft: Äesthetischer Landschaftsbegriff und Stoische Weltbetrachtung,” in Pieter Bruegel und seine Welt, ed. Otto Georg von Simson and Matthias Winner (Berlin: Mann, 1979), 73–142; and Buttner, Die Erfindung der Landschaft.

  27. 27. Donald R. Kelley, “Altera Natur: The Idea of Custom in Historical Perspective,” in New Perspectives on Renaissance Thought: Essays in the History of Science, Education and Philosophy, ed. John Henry and Sarah Hutton (London: Gerald Duckworth, 1990), 83–92. Larry Silver has written a compelling article about how Renaissance German writers and artists conceived of Germanic identity as being connected to the forest, directly linking national identity, tradition, and the physical environment. See Larry Silver, “Forest Primeval: Albrecht Altdorfer and the German Wilderness Landscape,” Simiolus 13, no. 1 (1983): 4–43.

  28. 28. Margaret T. Hogden, Early Anthropology in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1964), 23.

  29. 29. Abraham Ortelius, Aurei Saeculi Imago sive germanorum veerum vita, mores, ritus & religio (Antwerp: P. Galle, 1596). For a Dutch translation of the text, see Aurei Saeculi Imago of Spiegel van de Gouden Tijd, ed. Joost Depuydt and Jeanine De Landtsheer (Wildert: De Carbolineum, 1999).

  30. 30. Guicciardini, Description, 39.

  31. 31. Guicciardini, Description, 39.

  32. 32. For an overview of the historical understanding of the Batavians, see Sandra Langereis, “Van bote boeren tot beschaafde burgers: Oudheidkundige beelden van de Bataven 1500–1800,” in De Bataven verhalen van den verdwenen volk, ed. Louis Swinkels  (Amsterdam and Nijmegen: De Bataafsche leeuw and Museum Het Valkhof, 2004), 72–108.

  33. 33. Tacitus, The Agricola and the Germania, trans. H. Mattingly (London: Penguin, 1970), 25, 109.

  34. 34. I. Schöffer, “The Batavian Myth during the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries,” in Britain and the Netherlands V, ed. J. S. Bromley and E. H. Kossmann (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1975), 87. Although there was not a definitive and complete Dutch translation of Tacitus until the early seventeenth century, translations were available in German (1526), Italian (1544), and French (1548). On the history of vernacular translations of Tacitus, see Else-Lily Etter, Tacitus in der Geistgeschichte des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts (Basel and Stuttgart: Helbing & Lichtenhahn, 1966).

  35. 35. “vele notabele puncten die Julius cesar en cornelius tacitus bescreven hebben / aldus will ic dat hier mede in dese cronike insereren,” in Die cronycke van Hollandt, fol. 11r. For a discussion of Aurelius’s citation of Tacitus, see Tilmans, Historiography and Humanism, 252; and Karin Tilmans, “Aeneas, Bato and Civilis, the Forefathers of the Dutch: The Origins of the Batavian Tradition in the Dutch Humanistic Historiography,” in Renaissance Culture in Context: Theory and Practice, ed. Jean R. Brink and William F. Gentrup (Aldershot: Scholar Press, 1993), 131.

  36. 36. Dirk van Miert, “La Batavia de Adriano Junio (1511–1575),” in Humanismo y pervivencia del mundo clásico: Homenaje al profesor Antonio Fontán, ed. José Maestere Maestere, et al. (Madrid: Instituto de Estudios Humanísticos-CSIC, 2002), 114.

  37. 37. Martial’s epigram reads: “‘Tune es, tune,’ ait, ‘ille Martialis cuius nequitias iocosque novit aurem qui modo non habet Batavam?’”: Epigrams, trans. James Michie (New York: Modern Library, 2002),6:82. The English translation of Erasmus’s adage is from Margaret Mann Phillips, ed. and trans., The ‘Adages’ of Erasmus: A Study with Translations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1964), 209–12. On Erasmus and the Batavians, see M. E. H. N. Mout, “‘Het Bataafse Oor’ De lotgevallen van Erasmus’ adagium ‘Aurij Batava’ in de Nederlandse geschiedschrijving,” Koninklijk Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen 56, no. 2 (1993); Ari Wesseling, “‘Are the Dutch Uncivilised?’: Erasmus on the Batavians and His National Identity,” Erasmus of Rotterdam Society Yearbook 13 (1993): 68–102; István Bejczy, “Drie humanisten en een mythe de betekenis van Erasmus, Aurelius en Geldenhouwer voor de Bataafse kwestie,” Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis 109, no. 4 (1996): 467–84; and István Bejczy, “Erasmus Becomes a Netherlander,” Sixteenth-Century Journal 28, no. 2 (1997): 387–99.

  38. 38. Guicciardini, Description, 38; Münster, Cosmographiae, 326.

  39. 39. “Maiorem partem victus in lacte, carne, & caseo consistere, docet Caesar”: Ortelius, Aurei Saeculi Imago, B3.

  40. 40. “goede weiden vol van beesten ende…seer vruchtbar ende wasbaer van saeylant”: Die cronycke van Hollandt, fol. 91r.

  41. 41. The ‘Adages’ of Erasmus, 211.

  42. 42. Lodovico Guicciardini, Description, 37–39.

  43. 43. A selection of recent literature on the panel, in the Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum, includes: Walter S. Gibson, “Some Notes on Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Peasant Wedding Feast,” Art Quarterly 28, no. 3 (1965): 194–208; Müller-Hofstede, “Zur Interpretation von Bruegel’s Landschaft, Äesthetischer Lanschaftsbegriff und stoische Weltbetrachtung,” 141–42; Raupp, Bauernsatiren, 278–81, 283–87, 290–92 ; Margaret D. Carroll, “Peasant Festivity and Political Identity in the Sixteenth Century,” Art History 10, no. 3 (1987): 295-302; Walter Gibson, “Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Two Studies” (paper presented at the Franklin D. Murphy Lectures XI, University of Kansas, Lawrence, 1991): 21–39; and Sullivan, Bruegel’s Peasants, 110–15.

  44. 44. Guicciardini, Description, 37–38.

  45. 45. On rijstpap, a kind of rice pudding served on festive occasions, see Gibson, Pieter Bruegel and the Art of Laughter, 88. Recent literature on the Peasant Weddingincludes: Raupp, Bauernsatiren, 278–81, 283–87, 290–92; Carroll, “Peasant Festivity and Political Identity in the Sixteenth Century,”295–302; Sullivan, Bruegel’s Peasants; Kavaler, Pieter Bruegel, 20–21, 59–61, 149–83,; Gibson, “Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Two Studies,” 21–39; and Gibson, Pieter Bruegel and the Art of Laughter, 17–22, 50–54, 66–69, 102–3.

  46. 46. Margaret D. Carroll first noted this resemblance in “Peasant Festivity and Political Identity in the Sixteenth Century,” 289–314.

  47. 47. The ‘Adages’ of Erasmus, 211.

  48. 48. Ortelius, Aurei Saeculi Imago, B3.

  49. 49. Aurelius, Die cronycke van Hollandt, chapter 18 (first division).

  50. 50. “Ilz ont puis apres ce vice de trop boire…Mais ils sont en qu’elque endroit excusables, car estant l’air du pais le plus du temps humide & melancolique.”: Guicciardini, Description, 37–38.

  51. 51. On the ethnographic detail of Bruegel’s peasant weddings, see the foundational work of Svetlana Alpers, “Bruegel’s Festive Peasants,” Simiolus 6, no. 3/4 (1972/73): 163–76.

  52. 52. Orteliuis, Aurei Saeculi Imago, “Connubia”; and Aurelius, Die cronycke van Hollandt,  chapter 18 (first division).

  53. 53. In his short pamphlet on the Golden Age, for example, Ortelius cited a bevy of antique authors in each section of his work, including Julius Caesar, Seneca, Tacitus, Ptolemy, and Herodotus.

  54. 54. The question of whether Bruegel himself visited peasant festivities originates in Karel van Mander’s claim that the artist attended peasant weddings dressed in the guise of a peasant. See van Mander, The Lives of the Illustrious Netherlandish and German Painters from the First edition of the Schilder-boek (1603–1604), ed. Hessel Miedema, trans. Michael Hoyle, et al., 6 vols. (Doornspijk: Davaco, 1994 [originally published in 1624]), vol. 4, fol. 233r. Most recently the practice by Bruegel’s contemporaries of visiting a peasant kermisor other festivities has been addressed by Gibson, Pieter Bruegel and the Art of Laughter, who persuasively cites a range of textual and pictorial evidence that such visits did take place.

  55. 55. This proverb was paraphrased by Ovid: “Ista vetus pietas, aevo moritura futuro, / Rustica saturno regna tenente fuit.” Epistulae IV, 131–32. On the particular history of this proverb in the Low Countries of the Middle Ages, see A. P. Obrán, “Het spreekwoordelijke beeld van de ‘rusticus,’ de boer, in de Middeleeuwen,” in Gewone mensen in de Middeleeuwen, ed. R. E. V Stuip and C. Vellekoop (Utrecht: HES, 1987), 75.

  56. 56. Reinhart Koselleck, Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time, trans. Keith Tribe (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), 165.

  57. 57. Anthony Kemp, The Estrangement of the Past: A Study in the Origins of Modern Historical Consciousness (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), 157. On the triangular relation between European peasant, Europe’s own pagan past, and the exotic peoples of the New World, see Michael T. Ryan, “”Assimilating New Worlds in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries,” Comparative Studies in Society in History 23 (1981): 537.

  58. 58. Robert Muchembled, Popular Culture and Elite Culture in France 1400–1750 (Baton Rouge and London: Louisiana State University Press, 1985),48.

  59. 59. The question of whether Bruegel’s peasants were to be viewed as either uniquely moralizing or comedic has dominated the history of Bruegel scholarship – from the famous 1970s scholarly debate on Bruegel’s peasants between Svetlana Alpers and Hessel Miedema in the pages of Simiolus (See Alpers, “Festive Peasants,” and Hessel Miedema, “Realism and Comic Mode: The Peasant,” Simiolus 9 (1977): 205–19), the discussion of sixteenth-century peasant imagery has evolved in subsequent decades into a wider consideration of the ways in which the figure of the Netherlandish peasant could function in humanist culture and in the evolution of entrepreneurial, communal, and political identity. See, to name but a few: Margaret D. Carroll, “Peasant Festivity and Political Identity;” Ethan Matt Kavaler, “Pieter Bruegel’s Fall of Icarus and the Noble Peasant,Jaarboek van het Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten (1986): 83–98; Kavaler, Pieter Bruegel; Sullivan, Bruegel’s Peasants; Gibson, Pieter Bruegel and the Art of Laughter; andJürgen Müller, Das Paradox als Bildform: Studien zur Ikonologie Pieter Bruegel d. Ä. (Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 1999), 110. Rather than viewing comedy or satire as the dominant mode of reading Bruegel’s peasant pictures, I agree with B. A. M. Ramakers’ assessment of Bruegel’s representations of the peasantry as straddling the divide between vernacular comedy and humanist wit. Ramakers argues that the peasant in sixteenth-century Netherlandish culture is a Janus-like figure of internal exoticism and self-reflection. SeeB. A. M. Ramakers, “Kinderen van Saturnus: Afstand en nabijheid van boeren in de beeldende kunst en het toneel van de zestiende eeuw,” Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 53 (2002): 13–52; and B. A. M. Ramakers, “Bruegel en de rederijkers: Schilderkunst en literatuur in de zestiende eeuw,” Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 47 (1997): 81–105.

  60. 60. The question posed was “Welck handwerck oirboirlijest is van doene, en eerlijcst, nochtans seer cleyn gedacht?” and all competing chambers cited landwinnighe or landbouwinghe. See Spelen van sinne vol scoone moralisacien uutleggingen ende bedidenissen op alle loeflijcke consten… (Antwerp: Willem Silvius, 1562). Similarly, in a procession for the Feast of the Assumption in Antwerp in 1564, rederijkers dressed as peasants were part of the representation of a “vale of fruitfulness”; example cited in Walter Gibson, “Festive Peasants before Bruegel: Three Case Studies and Their Implications,” Simiolus 31, no. 4 (2004/5): 305.

  61. 61. The constraints of space do not permit an exhaustive bibliography on the satirical view of Bruegel’s peasant scenes, but for further literature, see Miedema, “Realism and Comic Mode: The Peasant;” Raupp, Bauernsatiren, 316–21; and Sullivan, Bruegel’s Peasants.. On the figure of the peasant in Netherlandish literature of the sixteenth century, see the foundational work by P. J. Meertens and Jan H. de Groot, De Lof van den Boer: De boer in de noord- en zuidnederlandsche letterkunde van de middleeuwen tot 1880(Amsterdam: C. V. Allert de Lange, 1942). For a recent summary of literature, see Herman Pleij, “Restyling ‘Wisdom,’ Remodeling the Nobility, Caricaturing the Peasant: Urban Literature in the Late Medieval Low Countries,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 32, no. 4 (2002): 689–704.

  62. 62. There were approximately 370 such villas within 25 kilometers of Antwerp in the later half of the sixteenth century, see Roland Baetens, “La ‘Belezza’ et la ‘Magnificenza’: Symboles de pouvoir de la villa rustica dans la région anversoise aux temps modernes,” Nouvelle approches concernant la culture de l’habitat Antwerp (Turnhout: Brepols, 1991), 160.

  63. 63. On the development and construction of the rural suburbs and the Nieuwstadof Antwerp in the period, see Hugo Soly, Urbanisme en kapitalisme te Antwerpen in de zestiende eeuw: De Stedebouwkundige en industriële ondernemingen van Gilbert van Schoonbeke (Brussels: Pro Civitate, 1977). On land reclamation of the period, see Paul Lindemans, Geschiedenis van de Landbouw in België, 2 vols. (Antwerp: De Sikkel, 1952). According to van Mander, Bruegel was commissioned by the Brussels city authorities to represent the excavation of the canal linking Antwerp and Brussels, but he died before completing (or possibly even starting) the project. See van Mander, The Lives of the Illustrious Netherlandish and German Painters , fol.233v.

  64. 64. Joseph Koerner has described Bruegel’s ethnographic attention to the re-creation of peasant objects in paint and the meticulous description of material culture as encouraging exactly this kind of response and operating like a mask, concealing Bruegel’s sophisticated pictorial manner. Joseph Leo Koerner, “Unmasking the World: Bruegel’s Ethnography,” Common Knowledge 10, no. 2 (2004): 229.

  65. 65. For a summary of the printed predecessors to Bruegel’s peasant images, see Silver, Peasant Scenes and Landscapes, chapter 6; for a discussion of domestic objects as a precursor to painted peasant scenes, see Claudia Goldstein, “Keeping Up Appearances: The Social Significance of Domestic Decoration in Antwerp, 1508–1600 ,” (PhD diss., Columbia University, 2003); and for the importance of the now almost entirely lost medium of watercolor painting on cloth, see Odilia Bonebakker, “Bruegel’s Transgressions: Watercolor and Oil in Sixteenth-Century Antwerp” (paper presented at the Historians of Netherlandish Art conference, Crossing Boundaries, Amsterdam, Netherlands, May 28, 2010).

  66. 66. See Odilia Bonebakker, “Bruegel’s Transgressions,” as well as her upcoming PhD dissertation on this topic for Harvard University.

  67. 67. On the importance of arboreal and satyr imagery in the German Renaissance, see Silver, “Forest Primeval” and Christopher Wood, Albrecht Altdorfer and the Origins of Landscape (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993). On the similtude between John White’s watercolours of Amerindians and ancient Britons, see Sam Smiles, “John White and British Antiquity: Savage Origins in the Context of Tudor Historiography,” in European Visions, American Voices, ed. Kim Sloane (London: British Museum Research Publication 2009), 106–12.

  68. 68. Krista De Jonge’s unpublished paper, “Early Modern Architecture in the Southern and Northern Low Countries, New Challenges?” (paper presented at the Historians of Netherlandish Art conference, Crossing Boundaries, Amsterdam, Netherlands, May 27, 2010).

  69. 69. There is considerable scholarly interest in the original publication of the Small Landscape series, both in the authorship of the original designs and in the claim to lifelikeness (ad vivum) made on the title page of the second series. On the drawings, see Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann “Joos van Liere,” in Otto Georg von Simson and Matthias Winner, eds., Pieter Bruegel und seine Welt (Berlin: Kunsthistorischen Institut and Kupferstichkabinett, 1975), 17–28; Reinhard Liess “Die kleinen Landschaften Pieter Bruegels d. Ä. im Lichte seines Gesamtwerks,” Kunsthistorisches Jahrbuch Graz 15 (1979): 1–116; and 17 (1981): 35–150. On the Cock prints, see Jacqueline Burgers, ed.In de Vier Winden: De prentuigeverij van Hieronymus Cock 1507/10-1570 (Rotterdam: Museum Boymans can Beuningen, 1988): cat. nos. 31–32; Walter Gibson, Pleasant Places: The Rustic Landscape from Bruegel to Ruisdael (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 2000), 15–27; Stefaan Hautekeete, “Van Stad en Land: Het beeld van Brabant in de vroege topografische tekenkunst,” in Met passer en penseel: Brussel en het oude hertogdom Brabant in beeld (Brussels: Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, 2000), 46–57; and Alexandra Onuf, “Local Terrains: The Small Landscape Prints and the Depiction of the Countryside in Early Modern Antwerp” (PhD diss., Columbia University: 2005), as well as Onuf’s article in this issue of the Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art.

Bibliography

Alpers, Svetlana. “Bruegel’s Festive Peasants,” Simiolus 6, no. 3/4 (1972/73): 163–76. doi:10.2307/3780341

Andriessoon, Symon. Duytsche Adagia ofte spreecwoorden. Edited by Mark Meadows and Anneke C. G. Fleurkens. Hilversum: Verloren, 2003 (Originally published in 1550).

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Stephanie Porras, "Producing the Vernacular: Antwerp, Cultural Archaeology and the Bruegelian Peasant," Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art 3:1 (Winter 2011) DOI: 10.5092/jhna.2011.3.1.3