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The Harvesters, Pieter Bruegel.

Do you like to eat sandwiches? What kind of bread do you like best? You might choose white bread, whole wheat bread or rye bread. Where do you get the bread that you eat? You might get it at the supermarket or a convenience store. Where does the store get the bread? The bakery bakes the bread. The mill makes the flour. The farmer grows the grain.

The bread you make your sandwich with is the result of much hard work by many people. After the seeds are planted and the plants are nourished, and after the fields are weeded during the spring and summertime, it is the season for the harvest. If nature has been good, the grain has grown tall and turned bright in the fields. It blows with the wind like waves on a golden sea. The work of the harvesters is hard. They must work as long as light will allow. Have you ever heard of a harvest moon? The bright full moon shines all night so that the farmers can see to gather the harvest.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder was an artist from Flanders. This is where Belgium is located today. He was not a peasant but he painted so many peasants that he was called "Peasant Bruegel." In this painting of harvesters, Pieter shows a bountiful crop of grain being cut and stacked to dry. Some of the people work and some rest and eat in the shade of a tree.

A Painting or Drawing to Try

Find an autumn harvest to observe. It may be on a farm or in a little garden at home. What colors do you see on the ripe food? How have the plants changed since they were planted? How is the crop harvested? How many people does it take to harvest?

Draw a picture of the harvest you chose. You might want to make a close-up view of someone picking one fruit or vegetable. You might want to show many people at work harvesting in a large field.

Tell your friends about watching the harvest and your picture of it.

Words to discuss:

bread grain harvest peasant Flanders

H.T. Niceley is a professor at Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenessee, and a frequent contributor to SchoolArts
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Title Annotation:studying the art of Pieter Bruegel
Author:Niceley, H.T.
Publication:School Arts
Date:May 1, 1991
Words:379
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