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Sr. Contributor

The only common ground people find with Dulle Griet is that no one knows what the hell is going on.

Turn left, a hell mouth. An egg n' eyeball scheme throughout, which is just not a normal obsession. At bottom left, beetle man with hat and Humpty Dumpty with a spoon in its cloaca-mouth. More eyeball monsters at bottom center. It's like Bruegel had a vendetta against the early optometry industry. 

The painting's eponymous "Dulle Griet" (Mad Meg for you without Dutch tongue) was a sort of badass. Mad Meg is said to have collected together and gone on a ransacking trip straight to hell, stealing everything in their path. Mad Meg is basically the 16th century Dutch version of Imperator Furiosa in "Mad Max: Fury Road."

Likely created in the 1560s, the painting was lost until it appeared, mislabeled, at an auction in Cologne in the 1890s. The auction catalog called the work A Landscape with Ghosts, picking a pretty good name for the painting, and a great one for my Pacman tribute band. No museum wanted Dulle Griet, despite the improved title. A young Antwerp collector named Fritz Mayer van der Bergh purchased the work for a song.* Turns out the painting, like many by Bruegel, is signed and dated, but the Dulle Griet signature is sloppy and nearly unreadable. So at first, the work was at first attributed to Pieter Bruegel the Elder's less talented son, Pieter Bruegel the Younger (sorry Lil' Piet, you just don't got game like Big Piet).

Relevant: see Patton Oswalt's hilarious bit about Austin, TX (Starts @ 4:35)


According to Flemish lore, Dulle Griet is a witch with both amusing and scary personality traits.

There is also a Belgian beer named "Dulle Griet."

Some believe that this painting may have been inspired by the Flemish proverb: "One woman makes a din, two women a lot of trouble, three an annual market, four a quarrel, five an army, and against six the Devil himself has no weapon."





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Here is what Wikipedia says about Dull Gret

Dulle Griet (anglicized as Dull Gret), also known as Mad Meg, is a figure of Flemish folklore who is the subject of a 1563 oil-on-panel by Flemish renaissance artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The painting depicts a virago, Dulle Griet, who leads an army of women to pillage Hell, and is currently held and exhibited at the Museum Mayer van den Bergh in Antwerp.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Dull Gret