Production date
Object number

Pen and brown ink, contours incised

Signed at lower left: [B]RUEGHEL; dated at lower centre: M.D.LXVIII
28.6 cm x 22 cm

This famous drawing shows peasants at work on a summer’s day, engaged in a variety of activities. In a field just outside a village, they are busy scything, bundling and carrying off the grain, but there’s also time for a refreshing draught from a jug and a quick chat. Drawing on the tradition of medieval cycles depicting the labours of the months, Bruegel celebrates here the working peasants as guarantors of the country’s prosperity. The composition served as a relatively detailed template for the summer image in a sequence of prints of the seasons Bruegel planned in his later years. The artist evidently adapted his drawing style for future use as an engraving by executing clean lines and strokes. Summer offers a wealth of delightful pictorial inventions, for example the way the foot of the drinker in the foreground extends beyond the front edge of the picture. Bruegel’s subtle sense of humour is likewise evident in a sheaf of grain that appears to be growing out of a boy’s back, and in the woman whose head is completely obscured by a basket of vegetables.

David Klemm

Other artworks of this artist

The Painter and the Buyer
Desidia (Sloth)
The Descent of Christ into Limbo
The Last Judgment
Big Fish Eat Little Fish
Village Outside the Walls of a Fortress
Landscape with a fortified town
Mountain Landscape with River and Travellers
Bears in a forest
Avaritia (Avarice)
Dulle Griet
Twelve Proverbs
The Magpie on the Gallows
The Gooseherd