by Christina Stadlbauer

A mysterious drawing

The 16th century drawing “The Beekeepers” by Pieter Bruegel the Older illustrates an apiary, three figures dressed as beekeepers busy with skeps (straw beehives) and one figure on the lookout in a tree. The protagonists’ faces cannot be seen and the anonymity of the characters puzzles the observer. The entire scenery leaves many open questions to lay observers and experts alike resulting in numerous speculations.

Nevertheless, the meaning of the drawing stays ambiguous and the mystery of the illustration remains unveiled.

During Melliferopolis Fest, a workshop around this drawing was designed aiming at possible modern day speculative interpretations, both as narratives and as physical reenactment.

Breugel-ing is a speculative re-enactment of a medieval art work by Pieter Bruegel and was part of the Melliferopolis Fest activities, in June 2016.
Featured image:  The Beekeepers and the Birdnester, Pieter Bruegel The Elder, ca. 1568

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