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Pieter Brueghel the Younger--The Four Seasons, Autumn

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"The Seasons series brings together four small-size panels by Pieter Brueghel the Younger. Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, were produced in the highly lucrative studio the artist had inherited from his famous father, Pieter Breugel the Elder. The series suggestively illustrates the passage of time and the cycle of life.

"Autumn focuses primarily on pig slaughter and meat curing, which take up the entire foreground. Grape picking and winemaking are minutely depicted in the middle ground where people are stomping the grapes in a low wooden vat while the village seems to fade away into the distance.

"In Brueghel’s Four Season series every single detail adds up to form a great visual narrative of daily life in sixteenth-century Flanders. The artist invites everyone to take the front seat and join in watching the world go by."


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In our home when I was growing up Braunschweiger was a regular sandwich component in the fridge.

"In the United States and Canada, Braunschweiger refers to a type of pork liver sausage which, if stuffed in natural casings, is nearly always smoked. Commercial products often contain smoked bacon, and are stuffed into fibrous casings. Liverwurst (another type of pork liver sausage) however is never smoked nor does it contain bacon.

"Braunschweiger has a very high amount of vitamin A, iron, protein and fat. The meat has a very soft, spread-like texture and a distinctive spicy liver-based flavor, very similar to the Nordic leverpostej. It is usually used as a spread for toast, but can also be used as a filling for sandwiches, often paired with stone-ground mustard, sliced tomato, onion and cheese. In the Midwestern United States, braunschweiger is typically enjoyed in a sandwich with various condiments such as ketchup, mustard, and dill pickles, or simply spread on crackers. There are also a few recipes for pâté and cheese balls which use braunschweiger as a primary ingredient. However, pâté is creamier than braunschweiger."


When I was staying with a penfriend in Iowa, her husband often spoke of "Brats". It took a few days before I figured out that he was talking about Bratwurst sausages, quite popular for breakfast with many people in that area.


when I was in high school, I had liverwurst sandwiches for lunch. it tasted liverish. I always thought it was made from cows liver


Ooooh yes, Ron! It sounds like a heart attack in the making. Gotta go from something--might as well be from Black Pudding.


Yes it's a savoury dish. I'm not familiar with Liverwurst but certainly Black Pudding (and yes it's a misnomer) is generally in a sausage type skin and varies in spiciness depending on who produces it. Personally I have it for breakfast with Bacon, Egg, Sausage, Mushrooms, Tomato, all fried or grilled = really really bad for me! I've seen people have a Black Pudding sandwich too though. X (Just 37 answers short - sorry!)


How does one eat Black Pudding? In my mind pudding is eaten with a spoon and for me, it's a sweetened milk dessert. Is Black Pudding sweetened to be eaten as a dessert? Or, is it seasoned and put in a casing similar to sausage? I'd assume it's then not sweetened, but rather eaten as a "meat." I'm familiar with store-bought liverwurst, which they tell me is not as scrumptious as liverwurst made by a butcher. Do I assume Black Pudding is similar to liverwurst? Would you ever slice it and put it between two slices of bread, to be eaten for lunch? That's it, Ron, I think I hit my 40-question limit. Thanks. :-)


Blood is very much a staple in traditional Portuguese cooking and their version of Black Pudding is a big seller. In fact I've got some in my refrigerator now! Yum!


I keep looking a the one that's about to have its head chopped off and thinking it must be Mike's guess: a ewe or a ram. I think its hide with wool attached has been peeled off and we're looking at the fat layer over muscle. The overbite one that's being drained might be a deer, but the head sure looks weird. One of the kids is blowing up a bladder (probably the sheep's) to use as a balloon that they can bat around for fun.

We have it so easy these days.


the animal on top doesn't look like a pig either, maybe an ewe or ram?


you're right, Bill the perspective is off. I don't what kind of animal either. whatever it is, it has a considerable overbite


Nev, I gathered that the man and woman were bleeding an animal. What confused me is that it appears that the man has the animal over his back, and what I can see of it is far too skinny to be a pig. So it must be a trick of perspective or something and I'm not seeing it right. No matter, thanks for explaining.

Gayle, I'm game to try most anything once. Thanks for the offer!


it looks like the fellow welding the ax is going to chop the head off. if he is any good he should get off in one lick. the odd thing to me is they have split the animal along the back bone. also they didn't skin the carcass for the leather. people in upper right hand are picking grapes


Ah ha, Zulma, I assume by "pudding" you mean similar to the 'Black Pudding' sausage that Nev described. Hmm, here in the U.S., when we hear the word "Pudding" we think of a sweetened dessert made with milk and eaten with a spoon. It's hard for me to think of blood pudding as being scrumptious. By the way, your English is fine! Thank you for joining the autumn slaughter. :-)

Good old "night-shift" Nev! I wake up early in the morning to find a yeoman's job complete. Thank you--not only research findings, but personal embellishment as well.

Bill, I'm sure you don't mind having been enlightened. Thanks so much for starting the discussion. Now, pick up your spoon and enjoy your pudding.


J'aime, non seulement le boudin, mais le galabart, un gros boudin froid avec des morceaux de langue que l'on fait dans le centre de la France. Mais c'est bien connu que les Français mangent n'importe quoi ;-)


I wonder what the man on the top left is doing. He seems to take out a sheaf. Two other are yet on the ground. (Sorry for my english)


Bill, I know what they're doing, because I've seen this. If you don't want to know, don't read on.

They are collecting the pig's blood, which is an essential ingredient of Mettwurst sausage (which also contains a few other things you don't want to know about, and I won't list here). As well, this key ingredient (pig's blood) makes the famous 'Black Pudding' sausage which Europeans (particularly the English) seem to adore.
As a youngster of German-origin parents, I was raised on Mettwurst, which I very much liked. But, over the years, as I have learned more about this sausage, and what is in it, I've come to like it less and less. At this stage in my life I refuse to eat it now.


I would highly recommend to all of you here at the B.C.A.I. (Bommom's Collaborative Art Institute) the full Lot Essay of the set of four paintings of Pieter Brueghel II, entitled "The Four Seasons - Spring; Summer; Autumn; Winter", which was sold by Christie's, London, in July 2016, for $US8,231,609.

Here is an excerpt from it, concerning the painting Autumn:-

Autumn is one of the compositions invented by Hans Bol rather than Pieter the Elder, but the vernacular subject matter and everyday themes resonate eloquently with the earlier seasons, particularly Summer. Pieter the Younger clarified the composition by reducing the number of figures, bringing the slaughtered pig into full view and allowing himself and his viewers to relish the details of the preparation of this staple part of the diet of 16th- and 17thcentury Northern Europeans. The group at the left foreground, which Bol presents from a different angle, is reprised by Pieter the Younger from one of the most celebrated compositions of Pieter the Elder, The Numbering at Bethlehem (Brussels, The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium). In both works, the pig slaughter is cast as an essential element in the struggle for survival, which is inherent to the human condition, as peasants work to carve and store the meat in time for the winter to come.

Thanks, Gayle. I would like to add some personal comments here because, as a youngster on a farm, I witnessed pig slaughters quite often. Perhaps how it is done in this painting from the Middle Ages was the preferred way of doing it (on a table with the carcass facing sideways), but it is certainly not the best way. My father attached block-and-tackle to a tree limb and hung the carcass vertical, from the foot sinews of the pig. This permitted the butchering to proceed at the level of a human person, with the block-and-tackle raising/lowering the height of the beast to the level required. (Maybe block-and-tackle hadn't been invented then - I just don't know.)
I'm also aghast at that fellow with a hatchet raised high, ready to hack-off a piece from the carcass. I never saw that action taking place in all the pigs I saw that were butchered. Maybe that's how they did it back then, but it is not something I ever witnessed back in the early 1950s.
Respectfully, "night-shift" Nev.


I can't quite discern what the man in the green sweater and the woman in the turquoise skirt are doing. And I'm not sure I want to know! The kids watching them seem to be somewhere between horrified and mesmerized. Thanks, Gayle.