Friday, July 16, 2010

The Bee-Keepers 1568 by Pieter Bruegel The Elder

The Bee-Keepers 1568 by Pieter Bruegel, Berlin (click to enlarge)
This surreal image is for Mark Frauenfelder who writes about backyard beekeeping in his new book "Made By Hand". Yesterday, I bought a huge book of drawings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Ludwig Munz, Phaidon Publishers, 1961). It is absolutely fascinating.
This is one of the drawings.


alteredslates said...

I was trying to make out what was written in the lower left-hand corner of this drawing...'due' could be Italian for 'two';
'weeten'- Dutch for 'knowledge'; and ' beeten'- German for 'flowerbed'? or is it simply the title, 'the bee keepers'? It could be that I'm not seeing the letters correctly, but can't make out the language...interesting uniform of the day ;)

Amy Crehore said...

Well, it's pretty darn old, 1568.
Old language.

alteredslates said...

You're so right, could bee that the language or spelling of word's been lost or changed over the last 500 years...found this intricate drawing to bee most intriguing and worth further study; 'the queen bee was first discovered to bee female in 1586'...prolly by monks ;)

Internet Weekly said...

The Triumph of Death is one of my favortie paintings of all time!

johns said...

According to my book on Breugel, the inscription - translated - reads (cryptically): "Those who know the nest, know it; those who rob it, possess it." Apparently it may be a political allusion to the Catholic Church. The reproduction of the text in my book is cut-off, however - can someone transcribe it for me? I've got: "Dye den nest Weet dye Weeten -" then it's cut off.

johns said...

Actually, two seconds after my comment, I found a transcription in JSTOR: "Dije den nest Weet dije Weeten dijen R oft dij heeten." And according to the article the picture and the inscription were a satirical allusion to the Catholic Church, and the drawing was one that Breugel wanted destroyed after his death to protect his family from Catholic persectution. No idea why it wasn't destroyed, however.