He married Mayken van Aelst. Her father was a painter and may also have been Bruegel's teacher in painting. The couple’s two children, Pieter (the Younger) and Jan, also became painters.
In 1551 Bruegel joined the painter’s guild in Antwerp as a master painter. In 1561 he moved to Brussels. He died there on September 9, 1569 at about the age of 44.
About 45 of Bruegel’s paintings still exist today. These include Landscape with the Fall of Icarus (about 1558; Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels), The Fight between Carnival and Lent (1559; Art History Museum, Vienna), The Tower of Babel (1563; Art History Museum, Vienna), Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery (1565, Courtauld Institute of Art, London), and Peasant Wedding (1568; Art History Museum, Vienna).