#EngProverb: Bruegel’s Netherlandish proverbs

In this post, we will talk about a couple of proverbs. They’re not quite from the English side but I think it’s still quite relevant to our life.

Pieter Bruegel is one of the most famous Renaissance Flemish painters (now Belgium) in the world. You might not know that at the time, there are so many proverbs created by the Dutch and Flemish.

Title: ‘Netherlandish Proverbs’ or ‘Flemish Proverbs’ or ‘The Blue Cloak’ or ‘The Topsy Turvy World’ or ‘The Proverbs


Here, in this particular painting, Bruegel literally painted all proverbs that existed at the time.

And it has many titles:

  • Netherlandish Proverbs,
  • Flemish Proverbs,
  • The Blue Cloak,
  • The Topsy Turvy World, or
  • The Proverbs

These small figures characters presented the proverbs, sometimes you won’t notice that one scene could be different proverbs.

Bruegel made quite a few paintings like this, such as one about children’s games which he basically painted all kinds of it.

We won’t be sharing all the proverbs, we will share 10 of them :) See what you think of it:

1. To bang one’s head against a brick wall. Meaning: to try to achieve the impossible.


2. It depends on the fall of the cards. Meaning: it is up to chance.


3. To gaze at the stork. Meaning: to waste one’s time.


4. To wipe one’s backside on the door. Meaning: to treat something lightly.


5. To go around shouldering a burden. Meaning: to imagine that things are worse than they are.


6. To bell the cat. Meaning: to carry out a dangerous or impractical plan.


7. To put your armour on. Meaning: to be angry.


8. To throw one’s money into the water. Meaning: to waste one’s money.


9. To be barely able to reach from one loaf to another. Meaning: to have difficulty living within budget.


10. She puts the blue cloak on her husband. Meaning: she deceives him.



What do fellas think? Do you think they are still relevant to day? Let us know :)

The source of today’s session comes from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netherlandish_Proverbs


Compiled and written by @daedonghae at @EnglishTips4u on Saturday, May 10, 2014


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