Skip to main content

Winter Landscape

A small snowy landscape was probably Pieter Bruegel’s most popular composition. We know of more than a hundred copies of it, many of which come from his son’s studio. The copy in the Museum Mayer van den Bergh is a beautiful example.

Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap

We know of no fewer than 127 copies of this painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. One of the two originals from 1565 is in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels. Not all the copies are by Pieter the Younger: some date from as late as the 18th century.

Through a snowy landscape, populated with people and birds, a river winds its way. A motley group of sleighing children, skaters and players of ball games have ventured onto the ice. The bird trap of the painting’s title can be seen at the bottom right: a sloping plank with food underneath and a rope attached to it. If the rope is pulled, the board will fall onto the feeding birds...



In just two of the 127 copies, including the excellent example in the Museum Mayer van den Bergh, the Biblical theme of the flight to Egypt has been added, presumably at the client’s request. This gives the work a religious significance. Mary, Joseph and the donkey are the miniature figures at the bridge over the river.