Pieter Bruegels Kruisdraging: een proeve van ‘close-reading’

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The article is a contribution to the iconologv of sixteenth century landscape-painting, and sets out to examine in particular the con nection between the antithcthical iconography of the figurai element in landscapes by Joachim Patinir, Herri met de Bles and Jan van Amstel, and Pieter Bruegei’s Christ Bearing the Cross in Vicn na. Also presented and elucidated is the thesis that in this painting Bruegel anticipated with many details the subjective element in the sixteenth-century beholder’s interpretation, and that this subjective element in the reading of the image was anchored in the ‘collective’ imagery of early sixteenth-century landscape-painting. The author endeavours to demonstrate that the manner of reception prompted by Bruegei’s Christ Bearing the Cross is comparable with that required of the beholder of Jan van Am- stel’s landscape with Christ Bearing the Cross in Stuttgart. The uncertainty of the beholder faced with the question of whether a particular subjective interpretation of an individual detail or certain anecdote is ‘correct’ should not only be seen as a problem for the twentieth-century iconologist but is inherent in the actual painting, and must be judged as a positive element, intended by the painter, in the reception of the image. The beholder’s personal insight and judgement in issues of good and evil arc the true subject of these paintings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-33
Number of pages17
JournalOud Holland
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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