Children's Games

Pieter Bruegel
Oil on wood, 118 x 161 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Scholars count between 80 and 90 games played by over 200 children in this painting. Rabelais and Bruegel probably had similar motives in their lists of games (Rabelais' in the Book of Gargantua, Book XX). Both were great observers of contemporary life, and especially enjoyed the rituals of amusement. Although not all of these games can be identified with certainty, some are still played today. Social historians and anthropologists appreciate both Rabelais and Bruegel's documentation of a form of culture that was often considered too trivial for discussion in this period.

Bruegel's Children's Games
A wonderful high-res image


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Last update: July 3, 2003
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