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The Fight between Carnival and Lent

Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria

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l'Ancien Pieter Brueghel, 1559

Northern Renaissance
oil
panel
allegorical painting

The Fight between Carnival and Lent depicts a common festival held in the Southern Netherlands. On the left side of the painting there is an inn, and in the right side of the painting there is a church. The juxtaposition is meant to illustrate the two sides of human nature: pleasure and religious chastity, and the contrast between the two. Near the church sit well-behaved children. Near the inn are rambunctious drunkards. The fat man in the middle of the painting, with the pie on his head, is a representation of “carnival.” The painting represents a common theme in 16th century Europe, the battle between Carnival and Lent, and with its humor and witticism, is a satirical critique on the conflicts of the Reformation.

image of The Fight between Carnival and Lent