The Fall of the Rebel Angels (Pieter Bruegel the Elder)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Fall of the Rebel Angels[1] (De val der opstandige engelen , 1562) is a panel painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder.


This masterpiece, acquired in 1846, is the oldest purchase of a Pieter Bruegel the Elder by the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. It was at that time attributed to Pieter Brueghel the Younger. The panel depicts a passage from the Apocalypse. In golden armor, wings spread open and the turquoise robe fluttering in the wind, the Archangel Michael emerges to fight the fallen angels in the heavenly light. Angels in white tunics are fighting on his side, while heavenly creatures are heralding the good news of the purge of heaven to all corners of the universe.


Bruegel painted this painting when he was living in Antwerp and supplying drawings to the engraver Hieronymus Cock. He does not reference the then very popular Italian models, but clearly draws on the tradition of the archaic world of Hieronymus Bosch.

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