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.
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
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Gemäldegalerie
probably Rudolf II; 1748 from the treasury into the gallery
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