Land of Cockaigne

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Land of Cockaigne, 1567

By Alte Pinakothek, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen

Alte Pinakothek, Bavarian State Painting Collections

The Land of Cockaigne (1567) by Pieter Bruegel the ElderOriginal Source: Object in the Online-Collection of the Pinakotheken

With this depiction, Bruegel vividly illustrates the close connection between human laziness and a tendency towards vice – in this case gluttony – that permeates all social classes.

A knight in red cloak, armor and a lance to his feet...

...a farmer sleeping on his flail...

... as well as a scholar lie on the ground with obviously bulging bellies. Only the scholar – identified by his fur-lined coat and the inkwell attached to his belt – still seems to ponder ...

... near the closed book, but the arms crossed under his head and the writing underneath next to the book indicate that he will not put his thoughts on paper.

The slight inclination of the dining table indicates that the food placed on it gradually slides into the mouths of the three men lying on the floor without any effort on their part.

A fence made of sausages, ...

... a ready-to-eat goose, a roasted pig with a knife already stuck in its appetizing rind, a cactus-like tree consisting of flat cakes, ...

... and of course the already opened egg, which hurries towards the next eater with a brisk pace: All the delicacies shown emphasize the idea of availability at all times.

In the background, a man, still with a spoon in his hand, is crawling out of a sticky mass: the path to this paradise is arduous, as you first have to fight your way through a mountain of viscous mush.

Lethargy and surrendering to vice are closely linked to one another.

#Kunstminute | Mirjam Neumeister: Pieter Bruegel d. Ä., Das SchlaraffenlandAlte Pinakothek, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen

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