Pieter Bruegel the Elder's arguably greatest and most enigmatic painting, Dulle Griet (room 9), is the showpiece of the 4,000 works that passionate art connoisseur Mayer Van den Bergh amassed in the 19th century. Often referred to in English as "Mad Meg," the painting portrays an irate woman wearing helmet and breastplate—a sword in one hand, and food and cooking utensils in the other—striding across a field strewn with the ravages and insanity of war. There
is no consensus on how to read this painting. Some consider it one of the most powerful antiwar statements ever made. Others claim that it denounces the Inquisition. Either way, nothing could be further from the Bruegelian villages than this nightmare world. The museum also has a set of Bruegel's witty, miniature illustrations of Twelve Proverbs, based on popular Flemish sayings, and such treasures as a life-size polychrome statue from about 1300 of St. John resting his head on Christ's chest (room 6). It is, however, the Bruegels that make this small museum a must. There's an English-language pamphlet included with admission that reviews part of the collection.