Art: Sermons in Symbols

Though hardly anything is known about Pieter Bruegel the Elder, a great deal is known because of him. The demons and louts who crowd the pages of the newly published Fantasy of Pieter Brueghel* (edited by Adriaan L. Barnouw, Lear; $5) tell a lot about his time. Like the Satevepost covers of Norman Rockwell and John Falter, Bruegel's 16th Century pictures are minutely reportorial. But Bruegel never lapsed into slickness or sentimentality, not even when he illustrated the fairy tales and proverbs of his age. His frankness might not get through the mails today.

Like most apprentice painters of the period,...

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