The Blue Cloak

Pieter Bruegel (Bruegel the elder) painted this in 1559.  In it is encoded many of the famous proverbs of his day.

However, the original name of the piece was “The Blue Cloak.”  In the bottom middle of the painting you will see a lady in a red dress placing a blue cloak on her husband.  To be wrapped in a blue cloak means to be deceived.  And this deception is what Bruegel is illustrating.

There are two overarching types of proverbs:

  1. Those that point to the foolishness of humanity.
  2. Those that point to moral perils.

Many of the proverbs exist to point out our foolishness! (e.g. “Hitting your head against a brick wall”)  There collective existence in public conscientiousness is an indictment as to the universal foolishness we all share.  The moral warnings exist because of our proclivity to sin.

It shows that this world is “Topsy Turvy” and in fact, this is another title for this piece: “The Topsy Turvy World.”

Together they are the problem for which the church (and the way of life it advocates) are the solution.