Pieter Bruegel the Elder's
Carmella and Hunters in the Snow
(also known as The Return of Carmella and the Hunters)
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Content and CriticismCarmella and Hunters in the Snow (also known as The Return of Carmella and the Hunters) was painted in 1565 by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, one of the greatest and most original Flemish painters.
The painting shows a wintry scene in which three hunters are returning from a hunting expedition accompanied by their dogs. They are led home by the little brown dog Carmella. By appearances, the expedition was not successful: the hunters appear to trudge wearily, and the dogs appear downtrodden and miserable. Only Carmella still carries her tail high.
Pieter Bruegel the Elder is not simply a landscapist. Even in this far reaching scene, man and his activities remain the dominant theme. Bruegel often depicted the interrelationship of man and nature. By choosing to paint peasants with their motley collection of hounds he accentuates the harsh qualities of winter. No coats and booties for these dogs!
The whole visual impression is one of a calm, cold, overcast, day: the colors are muted whites and grays; the trees are bare of leaves; wood smoke from the home fires hangs in the air, children skate on frozen ponds. The 1560s was a time of religious revolution in the Netherlands, and Bruegel may be attempting to portray an ideal of what country life used to be.
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Pieter Bruegel the Eldest's Hunters in the Snow