The scene in front of us is dominated by several tall trees which dominate the right hand side of the canvas. A busy town can be seen through a space in the branches, with the main figures being found in the foreground. Across to the left is a more open area, which allows the overall composition to breathe a little more easily and in the far distance we see a collection of clouds that complete the piece. One can only imagine the amount of time that was needed in order to create such an elaborate etching as this, though the advantage of this art form is that then an endless supply of prints can be produced from it fairly easily. Bruegel would call on the help of specialists in that field in order to produce a limited number of prints from this series, as he wanted to spread his artistic reputation but without flooding the market.
We are unsure about quite how long it took to go from Bruegel's initial designs to the completed prints, as several other artists were involved in the process and they would not necessarily have been living particularly local to the Bruegel family. He accepted that his skills lied in painting and drawing and that the specialist disciplines of engraving and printing were best left in the hands of others who had far more experience within them. Hieronymus Coch was based in Antwerp and would provide the final piece in the jigsaw, taking the adapted engravings and returning with a collection of prints from Bruegel's original designs. Quality would have been a major consideration here, as no-one would want their names connected to anything sub-standard and so perhaps the first few iterations in the series required amendments along the way until the process settled down.
This engraving is believed to be under the ownership of the Met in the USA, a prestigious art institution that continues to grow its extensive collection every year. Those interested in European art more generally will find an impressive department that focuses specifically on the paintings to have come from major European names since the Renaissance and amongst them you will find Bruegel's Harvesters. Aside from that, expect to see all the other household names represented here too, including the likes of Goya, Manet, Vermeer and Velazquez, to name just a few. Their collection is a combination of generous donations from rich patrons who perhaps has a strong connection to the institution, as well as some private purchases over the years.