Pieter Bruegel (1526-1569) the Elder was the most significant artist of Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting, a painter and printmaker, known for his landscapes and peasant scenes (so-called genre painting); he was a pioneer in making both types of subject the focus in large paintings. He was a formative influence on Dutch Golden Age painting and later painting in general in his innovative choices of subject matter, as one of the first generation of artists to grow up when religious subjects had ceased to be the natural subject matter of painting. He also never painted portraits, the other mainstay of Netherlandish art.
After his training and travels to Italy, he returned in 1555 to settle in Antwerp, where he worked mainly as a prolific designer of prints for the leading publisher of the day. Only towards the end of the decade did he switch to make painting his main medium, and all his famous paintings come from the following period of little more than a decade before his early death, when he was probably in his early forties, and at the height of his powers.
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. The 1560s was a time of religious revolution in the Netherlands, and Bruegel (and possibly his patron) may be attempting to portray an ideal of what country life used to be or what they wish it to be.
the above text appears on the back of the card HC-1327: card size 7" x 5" (178mm x 127mm)