#FineArtFriday: The Tax-collector’s Office by Pieter Breughel the Younger ca. 1615

Pieter_BRUEGHEL_Ii_-_The_tax-collector's_office_-_Google_Art_ProjectArtist: Pieter Breughel the Younger (1564–1638)

Title: The tax-collector’s office, also known as the Village Lawyer

Date: circa 1615

Medium: oil on panel

Dimensions: height: 74.5 cm (29.3 in); width: 106.5 cm (41.9 in)

Collection: Art Gallery of South Australia 

What I love about this painting:

Pieter the Younger was never considered as fine a painter as his father, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, or his brother, Jan Brueghel. He was, however, considered a master printmaker and his workshop was highly regarded. But he was not respected as an artist. Critics of the day felt he copied his father’s style, rather than developing his own. While he did paint in a folk-art style reminiscent of his father’s, his is sharper, more refined, taking it to the next level.

The people in the above picture are looking lean and ragged. The Little Ice Age gripped Europe, and times were hard. I love the color, the action, the commotion of the people. So many stories are shown in this one painting.

About this painting via Wikipedia:

Pieter Brueghel the Younger created original works largely in the idiom of his father which are energetic, bold and bright and adapted to the 17th-century style.  One of the artist’s most successful original designs was the painting of The Village Lawyer (sometimes also called the Tax Collector’s Office, the Payment of the Tithe, the Lawyer of Bad Cases and the Notary’s Office). The different titles of the work indicate that it may have been interpreted in these different ways in the 17th century. The title The Village Lawyer is probably the best suited since the person behind the desk is wearing a lawyer’s bonnet, the collection of taxes usually did not occur in such setting and the paperwork and bags on the desk look like those for requests and decrees. The picture also shows peasants lining up with presents such as chickens and eggs to please the lawyer, which was a common occurrence, whereas tithe payments were made in grain. The painting shows his interest in and close observation of village life. Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s workshop made many copies of the composition in different formats. There exist 19 signed and dated versions of this work (from between 1615–22) out of some 25 originals and 35 questionable versions. [1]

Credits and Attributions:

Image: Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Pieter BRUEGHEL Ii – The tax-collector’s office – Google Art Project.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Pieter_BRUEGHEL_Ii_-_The_tax-collector%27s_office_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg&oldid=708678946 (accessed December 9, 2022).

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Pieter Brueghel the Younger,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pieter_Brueghel_the_Younger&oldid=1112359702 (accessed December 9, 2022).


Filed under writing

6 responses to “#FineArtFriday: The Tax-collector’s Office by Pieter Breughel the Younger ca. 1615

  1. Oh, this Nederlandse painter. Lol This brings back sad memories. 😉 At school we had to review his work, but i was not able to do, nor was encouraged to do this. hahaha Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I always see a random arm in this painting I can’t connect to a body! 😀 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the energy in this painting. It is vibrant and alive. You can almost hear the comments and conversations going on.