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.
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
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Gemäldegalerie
Collection Leopold Wilhelm
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