Bruegel is best known for his large landscapes and town views populated by small, lively figures, often contemporary peasants, and illustrating biblical, allegorical, and folkloric subjects. In addition to the Frick example, only three other grisailles by Bruegel are known, all on religious themes. This little panel, once in the collection of Charles I of England, represents a trio of "Landsknechte," the mercenary foot soldiers whose picturesque costumes and swashbuckling airs provided popular images for printmakers in the sixteenth century. Bruegel may have executed the Frick grisaille as a model for such an engraving, although none is known, or simply as a cabinet piece. The attenuated grace of the figures in this painting may reflect currents in contemporary Italian art.


  • Title: The Three Soldiers
  • Creator: Pieter Bruegel the Elder
  • Date Created: 1568
  • Physical Dimensions: 34 × 30.8 cm
  • Provenance: Charles I. About 1900 until the 1950s, private collection, England. Purchased by Mr. Marks, antiques dealer, c. 1960. Stephen Bangarth and others sale, June 26, 1964, Christie’s, Lot 6, sold for £24,150 to Speelman. Agnew. Frick, 1965. Source: Paintings in The Frick Collection: American, British, Dutch, Flemish and German. Volume I. New York: The Frick Collection, 1968. Updated by the Curatorial Department in August 2009.
  • Type: Painting
  • External Link: See more on The Frick Collection website
  • Medium: Oil on panel
  • Painter: Pieter Bruegel the Elder
  • Credit Line: Purchased by The Frick Collection, 1965

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps