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Bruegel’s Children’s Games – A Curious (Old) Copy Has Just Surfaced

Recently we’ve been given the opportunity to examine first hand a very interesting copy of Bruegel’s Children’s Games.  The painting is large – 28″ X 39″, seemingly painted on a single panel (or two panels), potentially painted on larch (birch).

Below is the original version from 1560


Below is the copy from ?

Children's Games Copy

What makes this copy so interesting is how it diverges from Bruegel’s original.  There are many Children’s games that are missing from the copy, as seen in the illustrations below.

Figures that appear in both versions are in yellow.  Those not highlighted are missing from the curious copy:

Children's Games differences highlighted

This blog will document the research done on this painting to ascertain when it was painted, and potentially who painted it.

We love a detective hunt!



3 thoughts on “Bruegel’s Children’s Games – A Curious (Old) Copy Has Just Surfaced

  1. Coincidentally, I am featuring Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s ‘Children’s Games’ painting at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in a student research project. Is there any further information you can provide regarding your acquisition of the copy and any additional investigation details? Thank you –

    Posted by Pamela Johnston | April 19, 2015, 2:35 pm
  2. You should focus on the figures themselves. The original painting has adults performing children games.
    The copy has replaced the adults with younger people and even young children.
    I consider this difference more important than the missing people.
    Is it possible the painting was painted by Bruegel himself? It could be possible he first painted it like this, with actual children, and then he painted it again because he wanted to have adults in it. And he filled the empty spaces with more games. The dates and authors would have to match of course and I don’t know if that’s the case. But if it is, I consider that to be a possible explanation.

    Posted by Dominique | August 18, 2018, 3:09 am

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