Pieter Bruegel’s ‘Dulle Griet’ restored in full glory

Pieter Bruegel’s ‘Dulle Griet’ restored in full glory

After a restoration of one and a half years, Dulle Griet (Mad Meg) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder has regained its original beauty. The color splendor is once again visible and the artistic qualities of Bruegel come into their own again.

Dulle Griet, a masterpiece with iconic value, was sent to Brussels for study and restauration by the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage. The workshop has a world-wide reputation, amongst others thanks to the restoration of the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb of Jan Van Eyck.

The restoration has revealed Bruegel’s refined brushwork and a number of striking details that were hidden for decades under layers of overpainting and yellowed varnish. Thanks to the use of more advanced techniques, the various layers of the work could be documented and studied one by one.



Not only was there the rediscovery of a blue-green sky, research indicated that the painting does not date from 1561, for instance, but from 1563 – the year in which Bruegel married and moved from Antwerp to Brussels. It also appears that Bruegel did not put the word 'Dul' on the panel as a title.

Detail of Dulle Griet after restoration

Dulle Griet will travel to the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, where it will be one of the eye-catchers of the retrospective exhibition on Bruegel. The exhibition will open the international celebrations to mark the 450th anniversary of Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s death. The painting will return to the Antwerp Museum Mayer van den Bergh in spring 2019.

Top image: Pieter Bruegel (ca. 1525/30 – 1569). Dulle Griet (after restoration), 1563, Museum Mayer van den Bergh, Antwerp

Tom Christiaens

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