Pieter Brueghel the elder: The Land of Cockaigne (1567)


(Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany)

A painting by the Flemish master Pieter Brueghel the elder (1525-1569). This piece shows 'the Land of Cockaigne' (in Dutch 'Luilekkerland, or 'the lazy-luscious-land', 'the land of mild and honey'). Cockaigne was a mythical land of plenty which shows on this painting: a knight, a peasant and a clerk are underneath a table bound to a tree in full with half eaten food, a roasted fowl lays itself upon a silver platter, a roasted pig runs about with a carving knife already slipped under its skin. The fence enclosing the main scene behind the dozing trio is made of interwoven sausages. At the top ships are sailing an a sea of milk. On the left a knight is sitting beneath a roof which is covered in dishes of pie and pastry. the knight has his mouth open, waiting for the roasted pigeon to fly in. On the right is a man forcing his way out of a large cloud of pudding, having eaten his way through it. The painting probably refers to gluttony and sloth, two of the seven deadly sins, and its spiritual emptiness. Painting from 1567.

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