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The Wine of Saint Martin's Day

Pieter Brueghel II (according to Pieter Bruegel the Elder)unknown - unknown

Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

Saint Martin (of Tours) is a typical example of a saint who shared his riches with the poor: in the right foreground, we can see him cutting his soldier's coat in two for a half-naked/ partially-clothed beggar. Saint Martin was celebrated on 11 November and the occasion would be marked by the tasting of this first wine of the new season, named "the wine of Saint Martin". That is what is happening here, with an enormous barrel surrounded by a large crowd with everyone trying to get as much wine as possible. This attitude symbolises avarice, which is violently contrasted with the generosity of the saint being celebrated, This painting is a reproduction of a lost composition by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. In the left foreground we can make out the Hal gate in Brussels, the city where Bruegel would live out the rest of his days. Bruegel gives his allegory to avarice a particularly lively character, situating his satire in a topographically identifiable reality of his time. (Joost Vander Auwera in 'Art and Finance in Europe')

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  • Title: The Wine of Saint Martin's Day
  • Creator: Pieter Brueghel II (according to Pieter Bruegel the Elder)
  • Date: unknown - unknown
  • support: canvas
  • origin: Donation from Dr et Mrs Frans Heulens-Van der Meiren, Brussels, 1989
  • Physical Dimensions: w269.5 x h147 cm (without frame)
  • Provenance: Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels
  • Type: painting (canvas)
  • Rights: © Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels / photo : J. Geleyns / Ro scan

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