Mad Meg

The Mad Meg theme is based around one of my favourite paintings, Dulle Griet. It a dark theme to match the subject matter of the painting and is ideal for blogs on political satire, art, poetry or any dark writing especially that poking fun at the establishment. The theme is free under a GPL license and all the artwork used in the theme is from the painting.


You can download this theme from the WordPress Theme Directory, here.

I would love to hear from people using the theme and welcome feedback, good or bad.


  • Fixed width
  • Two Column, with a wide right hand sidebar
  • Integrated menu
  • Three Sidebar Areas (two in the right column and a small area in the header)
  • Support for galleries, captions, comment threading, sticky posts, multiple pages and so on

About the Painting

Dulle Griet was painted in around 1564. Dulle Griet is a mad peasant woman from a old Flemish proverb (loosely translated into the English as Mad Meg). In the painting Mad Meg stands in the centre with in her peasant dress with a breastplate, helmet and huge sword from a solider of the time. She is racing towards the mouth of hell still holding baskets of everyday items such as pots and pans.

Here she is perhaps acting out a Flemish proverb:

She could plunder in front of hell and remain unscathed.

All around her all hell is breaking loose literally; people are becoming mutant monsters, the land is laid to waste. Even the army, known to pillage all and sundry, is cowed before her and her own army of women. This is, I think, the most interesting aspect of the painting. It becomes a “pop art” warning of its time, to an invading army.

Dulle Griet by Pieter Bruegel c.1564

The artist, Pieter Bruegel, is thumbing his nose at the establishment, saying “you can persecute us and plunder our land only so much before you unleash a force unmatched by hell itself”. Given that “peasant power” was non existent in comparison to the might of the army and the church, this was more wishful thinking on his part than a genuine call to arms. In the end, his audience being the rich and famous, the painting is more a moral poke in the eye than a serious attempt at subversion.

The painting is also tremendous fun. With a grisly mouth of hell, complete with the dammed flowing under the pointy teeth in a river of blood; hideous people turned half to barrels, or bottoms or various animals. Then there is the army of ladies mowing down the regular army with ease, while Meg collects the various plundered goods. There is so much to see in this painting. Look carefully in the sky to find winged devils or in the centre to find what looks like sunbathers drinking cocktails on a beach.

You can see the painting in Antwerp at the Museum Mayer van den Berg.

About the Artist

Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c1525-1569) a painter who has successfully combined the popular culture (of his time) with high art. Thus we have some insight into the thoughts, beliefs, rituals and games of the normal everyday folk as well as political and religious satire cleverly woven into his paintings. This later element was always ambiguous and must have appealed greatly to those who could afford his paintings at the time. There was considerable risk in poking fun at both church and state. Death being the only likely result, yet somehow he seems to have escaped and his paintings remain un-burned. I think he painted for his audience carefully. Allowing them to show one side publicly and laugh quietly in private at the subversive side.

Version History


  • Moved favicon to default location (and removed custom image)
  • Added support for rounded corners and box shadow for IE9
  • Changed header tag order
  • Added clearer formatting for key html elements
  • Added search box to the 404 page
  • Improved readme.txt layout


  • Fixed path for favicon
  • Fixed linking to untitled posts
  • Removed duplicated “Comments Off” messages
  • Fixed html typo
  • Added message about header widget truncation to readme.txt


  • Updated for 3.0 compatibility
  • Added support for paged comments, menu, sticky posts
  • Updated language compatibility


  • Updated for 2.8 compatibility
  • Added threaded comments


  • Updated for 2.7 compatibility


  • Small display fix for comment titles with non English characters


  • Replaced depreciated functions for Author and RSS Feed URLs
  • Added new short-code gallery function to override default (non CSS compliant) one


  • Initial Release


  • Chris Green


    I’ve used this theme for two sites now and love it! I’ve run into a bit of a problem with the second of the two sites though, as I can’t seem to hide the site title and description (I’ve created a header image which contains both, so don’t need to display them). I’ve tried messing around with the css and nothing seems to work, which leads me to wonder whether it’s something to do with the header.php?

    php is a closed book to me (and if I’m honest, I’m not particularly expert on css!) so any help you could give would be very much appreciated!



    • BC

      Thanks Chris. You are right the easiest way to do this is by editing header.php and removing the following lines (20 and 21):-

      <h1><a href="<?php echo home_url() ?>/" title="<?php bloginfo('name') ?>" rel="home"><?php bloginfo('name') ?></a></h1>
      <h2><?php bloginfo('description') ?></h2>

      You should note though that this isn’t as good for search engines and also that it removes the link to the home page that the title had.

  • Walter H.

    I have to say, when I wanted to put together a website for my podcasting of catastrophes, I found the Mad Meg theme and loved it. Had all the colors and look and feel that I wanted. I did replace the header and a side image with something custom from an artist friend of mine, but I made sure she matched your original look and feel.

    Only thing I’d like to do is be able to widen the right sidebar. I’m assuming it’s somewhere in the style.css file, but I’m not sure – I need to learn CSS one of these days…

    • BC

      Glad that you like the theme. Thanks for letting me know how you use it.

  • Madison Woods

    I’m using your theme for my website and I love it. The mc of the painting has some parallels with the mc of my novel and I didn’t realize that before I’d put the theme into service, so that made it even sweeter. Thanks!

    • BC

      Glad that you like the theme and thanks for the feedback.

  • Dargan

    The widgets on the sidebar don’t seem to work right, I get widgets I don’t want like rss feeds, meta, search, and archives, even though I didnt put them in my widgets

    • BC

      This sounds like the default sidebar that is displayed if you haven’t yet added any widgets. I can see from your site that you have now added some widgets and I expect this issue is now resolved. Let me know if not.

  • Василий

    Я понимаю, что вопрос дилетантский. Мне тема нравится, но как можно убрать правый нижний кусочек, там где оскаленная морда какого-то зверя. Заранее благодарен за ответ.

    • BC

      To remove the image from the bottom of the sidebar (snarling muzzle of some beast as you put it), you can edit style.css and comment out this line (about 20 lines from the top of the file).

      #primary { background: url('images/sidebar.jpg') #57100A bottom left no-repeat; padding-bottom: 290px; }

      like this

      /*#primary { background: url('images/sidebar.jpg') #57100A bottom left no-repeat; padding-bottom: 290px; }*/

      then save the changes. You may need to refresh your browser (press F5) so any local css cache is refreshed.

      I hope this helps.

  • Jon

    I just wanted to say that I am using the Mad Meg theme, and love it. I think it is one of the nicest ones available.

    • BC

      Thanks so much for the positive feedback.

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  • JD Hickey

    I’m currently using your theme for my band TaelStrum. I find it fits well with the music and storytelling theme.

    JD Hickey
    Montreal, Quebec

    • BC

      JD, thanks for letting me know. It’s good to see the theme being used in that context.

  • Bergeron

    I have a quick question regarding the Mad Meg theme. I’ve been attempting to modify the theme’s style sheet to change the global font but I can’t seem to locate the the line to accomplish this. I’ve tried making alterations to the font families through the word press editor and making manual changes to the global.css file but have been completely unsuccessful. I was hoping someone here might have more information or a solution for this.

    Thank You.

    H. Bergeron

    • BC

      You seem to be doing the correct thing. You need to change the value for font-family in the body (right at the top of style.css). Make sure that you put quotes around the font if the name has a space and put your new font at the beginning of the list. Also after saving the changes and viewing your site, press F5 a couple of times in your browser to make sure that the changes in the css file are picked up locally as most browsers cache the css.

  • Stephan Biere

    i like your theme “Mad meg” a lot. And i’d like to use it. May i use it commercial for my company? But i dont want to use this theme like you build it. I would make some minor cosmetics which fit better for my company.
    So may i use your theme for commercial use and edit the theme a bit?

    Best regards

    Stephan Biere

    • BC

      Stephan, any use of this theme that is permissible under its license is fine by me. Thanks for asking.

  • Tabatha Marshall

    The theme is beautiful, and just what I was looking for – thanks so much!

    • BC

      Thanks Tabatha, it really is nice to hear that the theme is being used.

  • Camille

    I absolutely love the Mad Meg theme. I’m not usually a fan of those colors, preferring grays and purples, but with the Bruegel images it is visually very appealing.
    It will do wonderfully until I decide to plan my own them.

    Thank you!

    • BC

      Thanks Camille. The colours blend and contrast really well – I guess that is part of the genius of painters such as Bruegel.

    • BC

      Thanks Peter, glad that you like them.

  • abdalla

    Hi, thank you for great theme, but i have problem since i am using right to left plugins, the alignment of the interface is missing some litters from the menu so o have to scroll all the way to the left (could you please check my website) and tell me how to make the web page fits on the screen and not to have the scroll bar in bottom


    • BC

      Thanks for the feedback. I had a look at your site but it seems that you made many changes to the theme and so it is difficult to help.

      I think the issue is that your RTL plugin doesn’t like the CSS for .screen-reader-text which puts the text at left: -9000px;. You might try right: -9000px; instead or if you prefer remove the left parameter and add visibility: none; instead.

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