pieter bruegel hunters in the snow
The Hunters in the Snow, and the series to which it belongs, are in the medieval and early Renaissance tradition of the Labours of the Months: depictions of various rural activities and work understood by a spectator in Breugel‘s time as representing the different months or times of the year.
Writing in the “opinion” section of Nature, art historian Martin Kemp points out that Old Masters are popular subjects for Christmas cards and states that “probably no ‘secular’ subject is more popular than . Hunters in the Snow“. 
The painting shows a wintry scene in which three hunters are returning from an expedition accompanied by their dogs. By appearances the outing was not successful; the hunters appear to trudge wearily, and the dogs appear downtrodden and miserable. One man carries the “meager corpse of a fox” illustrating the paucity of the hunt. In front of the hunters in the snow are the footprints of a rabbit or hare – which has escaped or been missed by the hunters. The overall visual impression is one of a calm, cold, overcast day; the colors are muted whites and grays, the trees are bare of leaves, and wood smoke hangs in the air. Several adults and a child prepare food at an inn with an outside fire. Of interest are the jagged mountain peaks which do not exist in Belgium or Holland.
Hunters in the Snow is used extensively in Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky’s films Solaris (1972) and The Mirror (1974), and in Lars von Trier’s 2011 film Melancholia. It appears also in Alain Tanner’s film Dans la ville blanche (1983). It was an inspiration for Roy Andersson’s 2014 film A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, and it is the basis for the first frame of Abbas Kiarostami’s 24 Frames (2017).
Hunters in the Snow – now acknowledged to be one of the greatest Renaissance paintings – was painted for the palatial mansion of the banker and art collector Niclaes Jonghelinck, as part of a large decorative scheme. Altogether Jonghelinck owned a total of sixteen paintings by Bruegel – among them, The Tower of Babel (1563), a Procession to Calvary (1564) and the Twelve Months (1565).
As usual for a Bruegel, the painting is filled with detail. See, for instance, the tree branches ‘dusted’ with fine snow; the Inn sign inscribed with the words “Under the Stag” and an image of Saint Eustace; figures tobogganing, curling and spinning tops in the ponds; the firemen extinguishing a chimney fire; people shooting birds; the watermill with its frozen water wheel; and the village church steeples providing visual reference points in the far distance.
Pieter Bruegel, Hunters in the Snow,1565, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
The answer to this division may lie in a small detail:
This painting is one of the first winter landscapes in the history of Western painting. The work captures the moment in which three hunters, accompanied by their dogs, return to their village after a hunting expedition. Bruegel has вЂњplacedвЂќ the viewer near the tired hunters, whose vision of the landscape would be very similar to ours.
Founder of a prominent family of artists, Pieter Brueghel (or Bruegel) the Elder is one of the first masters of Flemish painting, a talent often compared to Hieronymus Bosch, though BoschвЂ™s moralizing paranoia is replaced by BruegelвЂ™s ironic social criticism and unconcealed love for country life. Like Patinir, Bruegel is not a вЂњpureвЂќ landscape painter, as his landscapes are always backgrounds of works of religious or genre themes. His most important landscapes are those displayed in a series of six paintings depicting different seasons, from which “Hunters in the Snow ” is the best known example.