Reforming Bruegel: Between the Margins of Morality and the Confines of Comedy
Strickland, Lisa Dillon
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iii Abstract of the Thesis Reforming Bruegel: Between the Margins of Morality and the Confines of Comedy by Lisa Dillon Strickland Master of Arts in Art History & Criticism Stony Brook University 2012 In this thesis, I explore a pair of genre prints designed by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Thin Kitchen and The Fat Kitchen. Each print depicts a domestic scene that takes place in the kitchen. A theme of impoverishment runs through The Thin Kitchen, while in The Fat Kitchen the setting depicts gluttony and overabundance. These prints are usually discussed in a moralizing context by scholars, and are considered critiques of avarice. However, this thesis will argue that these prints should be understood as allegories of the symbolic battle between Carnival and Lent. I will develop this idea further and argue that Bruegel created these images within the comic mode of humanist wit. Once we understand these prints as operating in the comic mode of humanist wit, we will be better able to understand how they were perceived and interpreted by their original audience.