Ludovico Guicciardini called Bruegel a second Bosch in 1567. Giorgio Vasari, Domenicus Lampsonius and Karel van Mander also echoed this suggestion. According to Van Mander, Bruegel got the nickname of ‘Pieter the Joker’ (Pier den drol) because of his predilection for Bosch-like 'spoockerijen en drollen'. Until the end of the 19th century, the image of the 'second Bosch' retained him a place amongst the greatest artists of all time.
The work of Bosch remains popular after his death. One must then also refer at times to the commercial success that was connected with the production of works inspired by Bosch. This is probably a commercial strategy borne out by Bruegel's most important publisher Hieronymus Cock. The final word over the exact motives and the artistic exchange between two of the greatest artists from the Netherlands has certainly not yet been said.
Bruegel makes the imagery of his predecessor his own and transforms it into a truly unique result. It has to do with formal and motive-based appropriation, from which the hybrid and grotesque creatures jump out most to the observer. Bruegel further makes use of the complex narrative structures related to Bosch such as in the drawing The Temptation of St Anthony or in the painting Dulle Griet. In both works, various (crazy) scenes are playing out simultaneously.