Pieter Brueghel the Elder: The Tower of Babel (Vienna-Version), (1563)


(Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria)

The Tower of Babel is a well-known story from the Bible (Genesis 11:1-9). According to the story, after the great flood the people spoke the same language and settled in the land of  Shinar in the East. There they build a great city (Babel) with a large tower with its top in the heavens. But during the construction of the tower God came down to the city and confounded the speech of the people, so that they could not understand each other, and scattered them over the face of the earth. The person in the foreground is probably Nimrod, king of Shinar and the one who had ordered the construction of the Tower. The story of the tower of Babel is seen as a punishment of Pride (= superbia, one of the Seven Deadly Sins). Brueghel painted three versions of the tower of Babel, this is the Vienna-version from 1563.

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