The Peasant and the Nest Robber

1568, Artist: Pieter Bruegel d. Ä.



The Peasant and the Nest Robber

The depiction is traditionally linked with the proverb of the bird’s nest: “Those who know the nest, know it; those who rob it, possess it”. Yet the actual meaning of the picture is insufficiently explained by the proverb. Will both figures fall? The nest robber from the tree, the peasant into the stream before him? Can or is there supposed to be a winner or a loser, a better or a worse one? Bruegel used few large figures in his late work. The influence of Michelangelo in particular is presumed to be here.

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


rechts und unten beschnitten: Overall: 59,3 cm × 68,4 cm × 0,7 cm
Framed: 79 cm × 88 cm × 5 cm


Inscribed at lower left (in gold colour): BRVEGEL M.D.LXVIII

Image rights

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Gemäldegalerie

Inv. No.

Gemäldegalerie, 1020


Collection Leopold Wilhelm

Kunst & Patenschaft

This object is still without a Art Patron. Accept the patronage and make sure that this cultural treasure is preserved for future generations.
Your donation is a direct and sustainable contribution to the scientific documentation, research, restoration, and presentation of the artworks of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien.

Become an art patron