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(b ?nr. Breda, c.1525; d Brussels ?(5 Sept.) 1569). Netherlandish painter, draughtsman, and printmaker, the greatest artist of his time in northern Europe. There is little documentary evidence concerning his career, our knowledge of him depending mainly on van Mander's laudatory biography, published in 1604. This is a lively and useful source of information, but it misleadingly projects an image of Bruegel as ‘Pieter the Droll’, essentially a comic painter: ‘there are few works by his hand which the observer can contemplate solemnly and with a straight face’.

Text Source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)