Pieter Bruegel the Elder ca. 1520 – 1569

The parable of the blind

tempera on canvas (85 × 154 cm) — 1568 Museum Museo di Capodimonte, Naples

Pieter Bruegel the Elder biography

This work is linked to Matthew 15:14

Tags: Parable

Rate this work of art:

  [88 votes]

Jesus had told his disciples that it was not necessary to wash hands before eating. Scribes and Pharisees who heared about this were infuriated, as it was a clear breach of Jewish law. When the disciples informed Jesus about that, he replied that the Pharisees were blind leading the blind, and that all would end up falling into the ditch. The disciples should pay no attention to them.

Pieter Bruegel here depicts the subject literally. The painting is also a study of the different stages of falling, a technical challenge that Bruegel seemed to be fascinated by toward the end of his life.

The expressions on the faces range from trust to surprise and shock.

The church in the background emphasizes Bruegel's message: do not blindly follow leaders that lead you away from the Church, or you will end up in trouble.

Bruegel usually painted details with great care, after studying the subject extensively. Ophthalmologists (eye doctors) are said to be able to recognize five different eye diseases in this painting.

Show page metadata