Netherlandish Proverbs

Have you ever thought you could be one of those people that stare at the same painting for a long time?

When it comes to the new exhibit at the Fleming Museum, you do not have a choice. “The Netherlandish Proverbs” depicts a busy village scene that can best be described by one word: Madness. More captivating than all the activity going on is the proverb each individual interaction reveals.

Over 100 proverbs can be found in the painting, all of which were popular at the time of its creation, and some of which are still common today.

The painting, by Peter Breughel the Younger is an original signed work created in 1610. His father, Peter Breughel the Elder, was the original artist of “Proverbs,” but his son spent his life devoted to copying his father’s artwork. The painting at the Fleming is one of the ten original signed copies made by “the Younger.”

The Fleming Museum’s exhibition of “The Netherlandish Proverbs” is the first major showing of the painting in the United States. It was generously loaned to the Museum from the collection of Herbert J. and Adele Klapper.

So don’t spend your time catching flies, unless you catch two flies at once. Don’t arrive after 4:00 pm on weekdays or 5:00 pm on weekends or you will find the dog in the cooking pot.

If anything keep the exhibit as an egg in your nest. Take a break from carrying that basket full of daylight and check out something new. You won’t be throwing your money into the water because UVM students get in for free. Stand close by with a small lantern and if you choose to stay at home, who knows why the geese go barefoot?

If this last paragraph makes absolutely no sense to you, it might after visiting “The Netherlandish Proverbs.” The painting will be on exhibit at the Fleming through June 6, 2004.