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Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Biography and Early Life: – Pieter Bruegel the Elder became a free master in the Guild of Saint Luke of Antwerp in 1551. – Bruegel […]

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Biography and Early Life:
– Pieter Bruegel the Elder became a free master in the Guild of Saint Luke of Antwerp in 1551.
– Bruegel traveled to Italy, visiting Rome and Reggio Calabria by 1552, possibly collaborating with Giulio Clovio.
– He returned to Antwerp by 1555 and designed prints for Hieronymus Cock.
– Bruegel lived in Antwerp from 1555 to 1563, designing prints for Cock.
– In 1559, he changed the spelling of his name to Bruegel and signed his paintings as such.
– Bruegel married Mayken Coecke, daughter of Pieter Coecke van Aelst, in Brussels in 1563.
– His birth date is estimated between 1525 and 1530 based on his entry into the Antwerp painters guild.
– Bruegel’s early life details remain largely unknown, but his master was Pieter Coecke van Aelst.

Artistic Style and Techniques:
– Bruegel was a significant artist of Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting.
– He pioneered portraying landscapes and peasant scenes in large paintings.
– His art reinvigorated medieval subjects in oil paintings, incorporating elements from illuminated manuscripts and Renaissance prints.
– Bruegel’s work transitioned from designing prints to focusing on painting in the late 1550s.
– His paintings were keenly collected during his time, with notable collectors including Nicolaes Jonghelinck and Cardinal Granvelle.

Subjects and Themes in Bruegel’s Works:
– Bruegel specialized in genre paintings featuring peasants, landscapes, and religious scenes.
– His paintings depicted various aspects of village life, such as agriculture, hunts, festivals, and religious themes.
– Bruegel’s works often contained social commentary, satire, and allegorical figures.
– He captured physical and social aspects of 16th-century life through symbolic meanings and cultural references.
– Bruegel’s art served as a window into the past, preserving historical customs and traditions.

Legacy and Influence:
– Bruegel’s innovative choices of subject matter influenced Dutch Golden Age painting and later artists.
– His paintings were highly sought after by patrons and collectors during his lifetime.
– Bruegel’s sons, Pieter Brueghel the Younger and Jan Brueghel the Elder, continued his artistic legacy.
– Artists like Adriaen Brouwer, David Vinckboons, and those in the northern Netherlands were influenced by Bruegel’s work.
– Bruegel’s legacy as a painter and printmaker continues to be celebrated for his unique contributions to art.

Works and Recognition:
– Bruegel left about 40 surviving paintings, with 12 in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
– He etched one plate himself, ‘The Rabbit Hunt,’ and designed around 40 prints.
– Approximately 61 drawings recognized as authentic, mainly designs for prints or landscapes.
– Bruegel’s series ‘The Months’ includes 6 paintings, with 5 remaining.
– His painting ‘Landscape with the Fall of Icarus’ is now thought to survive only in copies.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Wikipedia)

Pieter Bruegel (also Brueghel or Breughel) the Elder (/ˈbrɔɪɡəl/ BROY-gəl, also US: /ˈbrɡəl/ BROO-gəl; Dutch: [ˈpitər ˈbrøːɣəl] ; c. 1525–1530 – 9 September 1569) was among the most significant artists 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 presenting both types of subject as large paintings.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder
The Painter and The Connoisseur, c. 1565, possibly Bruegel's self-portrait
Pieter Bruegel

c. 1525–1530
Breda (in modern-day Netherlands)
Died(1569-09-09)9 September 1569 (aged 39 to 44)
Known forPainting, printmaking
Notable workThe Hunters in the Snow, The Peasant Wedding, The Tower of Babel, The Triumph of Death
MovementDutch and Flemish Renaissance

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 painted no 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. At the end of the 1550s, he switched 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 in 1569, when he was probably in his early forties.

In the 20th and 21st centuries, Bruegel's works have inspired artists in both the literary arts and in cinema. His painting Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, now thought only to survive in copies, is the subject of the final lines of the 1938 poem "Musée des Beaux Arts" by W. H. Auden. Russian film director Andrei Tarkovsky refers to Bruegel's paintings in his films several times, notably in Solaris (1972) and The Mirror (1975). Director Lars von Trier also uses Bruegel's paintings in his film Melancholia (2011). In 2011, the film production titled The Mill and the Cross was released featuring Bruegel's The Procession to Calvary (Bruegel).

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