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Showing posts from December, 2018

Observations on composition - Pieter Bruegel

In this article I am reprinting a critique I published on photoMENTORIS.com regarding the painting entitled 'Census at Bethlehem' by famed painter Pieter Bruegel, who was born in what is now the Netherlands in the 1520s.


The first point I would like to say is that you first need to consider both the medium and the time frame of this painting. Being a painting, the artist has a certain advantage of being able to carefully direct the large amount of content presented to the viewer, unlike, say, a photo of opportunity of the street photographer (I strongly believe Pieter would have been the 'street photographer' of his time). Even a studio photographer, with the luxury of space and time, would have a hard time justifying creating such a complex composition. Where you would see this type of visual composition today would be in modern cinema. In particular, period pieces that rely on background elements to "sell the era".

 Secondly, the era in which this was creat…