Quizzes

There Are Over 100 Common Sayings Hidden In This Painting, How Many Can You Spot?

Google Cultural Institute

Who says art can't be fun? After all, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

In 1559, Dutch painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder completed this silly but clever painting, which is usually called Netherlandish Proverbs.

You can think of it as an oil painting in Where's Waldo? style, since the challenge is to identify the more than 100 proverbs and common sayings hidden throughout the piece.

Click the picture below to view the painting in a much larger size.

Painting Quiz
Click the picture to see a much larger size of this image!Google Cultural Institute

If you have sharp eyes, you can spot classic expressions like "there's no use crying over spilled milk" (or porridge) and "to swim upstream."

A few of the scenes are tricky to decode, both because the painting is a few hundred years old and since Bruegel was using Dutch expressions.

Take that roof covered in pies for example. Apparently having a roof tiled with tarts once meant being rich.

And the painting is also sometimes called The Blue Cloak, after the scene in the center of the frame where a woman drapes the cloak over her husband.

In Bruegel's day, this color symbolized that the woman was cheating on her husband.

But there are still plenty of meanings for modern viewers to spot in this massive work of art.

Notice the man banging his head against a brick wall?

How about the blind leading the blind off in the background?

There's no official list of proverbs to find (even experts disagree about the meanings) but this interactive version of the painting includes plenty of "solutions."

You can also watch this video for an in-depth breakdown of some tricky sayings.

How many expressions did you find? For a more modern challenge, try the Proverbidioms paintings by American artist T.E. Breitenbach.

[H/T: My Modern Met]

Challenge your friends with this tricky painting!

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com