Peasants in the Northern Renaissance
In the North peasants are often ridiculed and a source of humor for that wealthy nobles.But after awhile there started to emerge another class, merchants and such.So families that were once peasants have been elevated.But often to the nobles they are still no better.Artists during this time were obviously fascinated with their social status.A few including: Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Lucas Cranach, and Diego Velazquez.
In Cranach's "The Fountain of Youth" you have the old and sick flocking to the fountain. It does not matter if you're noble or a peasant.Cranach was obviously aware of the tensions present at this time and you have to wonder if the family he pained this for realized that he had put nobles and peasants swimming in the same pool.You also see the old and sick going into the pool and emerging young and healthy, which can also be take as going from poor to rich.
Bruegel's "Peasant Wedding" shows the reception of a wedding.He often painted peasant scenes, perhaps because at some point his family was very poor and he wanted to bring show these people in their real forms.Yet still with this sympathetic eye you can tell he is making fun of these people. The bride has a paper crown hanging above her head on the wall and she has a stupid yet content look on her face.Everyone around her only seems to be concerned with the food in front of them.They are carrying the food around on makeshift platters, a wooden door.The one upper class thing noticeable in the painting is a peacock feather but its lying on the floor, forgotten.
Velazquez's "Water Carrier of Seville" shows a common man doing what was considered a noble deed. The water carrier looks very intelligent and if given court clothing could easily fit in at court.The young boy is obviously reverent of his position and perhaps hopes to become a water carrier…