Description

    Follower of PIETER BRUEGHEL (Flemish, 1515-1569)
    The Fight Between Carnival and Lent, 17th century
    Oil on canvas
    35 x 53 inches (88.9 x 134.6 cm)

    PROVENANCE:
    Parke-Bernet, New York, March 13, 1957, lot 13;
    Finch College Museum of Fine Art, New York, no. 4783.

    LITERATURE:
    Ertz, K. Pieter Brueghel der Jungere (1564-1637/38): Die Gemälde mit Kritischem Oeuvrekatalog, I, Lingen 2000, p. 255, cat. no. 194 (illus).

    This striking painting by a highly skilled seventeenth-century artist follows a detail of one of the most popular compositions by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, The Fight Between Carnival and Lent dated 1559, now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna (inv. no. GG 1016). The composition was not only replicated by his son, Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1564-1637/8), but also by several other artists, resulting in at least fourteen known versions or copies. The most similar composition to the present piece is in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (inv. no. 49.82).

    The Fight Between Carnival and Lent presents the contrast between the folkloric Flemish customs of the two opposing liturgical seasons, Carnival and Lent, in the Southern Netherlands in the sixteenth century. Often, a personification of Carnival led a procession through town and presided over a large feast afterwards. The public enactment of a battle between the personifications of Carnival and Lent was a popular and important part of the festival.

    Well fed Carnival is sitting on an empty beer barrel on wheels on the left pointing a large skewer with three roasted poultry at the thin, pinched nun, Lent on the right. A man holding a waffle iron (waffles were Carnival specialties), is sitting in the empty beer barrel below Carnival. The figures behind them are singing, making noise and carrying food-related objects. The woman on the left of the singing man is wearing a necklace of sausages. The little boy with a pot on his head, behind the child wearing the yellow cape, is carrying a torch. Lit torches in daylight were used to symbolize the folly of Carnival. The cards and dice on the ground represent popular gambling games, which peasants played.

    Lent is sitting on a herring barrel on wheels and is armed with a baker's shovel with three herrings pointed towards Carnival. The inexpensive fish provided the staple diet during Lent when the eating of meat and other delicacies was forbidden. The fish and the bread in the basket, which is hanging at the shovel, possibly refer to the figure of Christ. The yellow beehive Lent is wearing on her head is a symbol of the Catholic Church. The monks behind Lent are performing self-flagellation. The contrast between the two liturgical seasons is accentuated by the buildings in the background. The building behind Carnival is a tavern with a cake cooling in the window, whereas the building behind Lent is a Church, the home for all Christians.



    Estimate: $80,000 - $90,000.

    Condition Report*:

    Condition: very good condition; older varnish, wax re-lined canvas. Framed Dimensions 42.5 X 61 Inches

    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2012
    15th Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
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