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The Fight between Carnival and Lent

1559, Artist: Pieter Bruegel d. Ä.



The Fight between Carnival and Lent

In the foreground of this encyclopaedia of Netherlands customs related to Carnival and Lent, Bruegel presents an allegorical jousting tournament as they actually occurred in the 15th and 16th centuries: on the left “Carnival” rides on a barrel, holding a roast on a spit as his weapon; on the right he is opposed by the skinny “Lent” extending a baker’s shovel with two fishes. The other details in this scene are also in keeping with the reality of the time as recorded in folklore. The depiction of everything happening in the same place at the same time, however, is Bruegel’s invention.

Location: Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Saal X

Object data

Object Name







Pieter Bruegel d. Ä. (um 1525/30 Breugel oder Antwerpen? - 1569 Brüssel) - GND


oak wood


Overall: 118 cm × 163,7 cm × 3,3 cm
Framed: 140,5 cm × 183,5 cm × 8,5 cm


Inscribed on a stone at lower left: BRVEGEL (V and E ligated) 1559

Image rights

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Gemäldegalerie

Inv. No.

Gemäldegalerie, 1016


probably Rudolf II; 1748 from the treasury into the gallery

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