Parable of the Sower

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Parable of the Sower, 1557. Timken Museum, San Diego.

This is an example of the “world landscape” composition style that was popular in sixteenth century Europe. It depicts an imaginary panoramic landscape, seen from an elevated viewpoint, which includes all of the most spectacular aspects of European geography. The subject of this style of painting is usually a Biblical or historical narrative, but the figures depicting the narrative element are always dwarfed by their majestic surroundings.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder was the founder of a large and important southern Netherlandish family of artists that were active for several generations in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The family business was kept busy for years producing replicas or adaptations of Bruegel the Elders works, as well as his descendant’s own compositions along similar lines. Here the sower is seen in the bottom left corner of the painting, sowing seed on his hillside croft.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Parable of the Sower, 1557.

A written, spoken, or recorded story.

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