Artist: Jan Brueghel the Elder
Genre: landscape art
Date: between circa 1605 and circa 1610
Medium: oil on oak panel
Dimensions: 40 x 32 cm
What I love about this painting:
Today’s Fine Art Friday offering is a further exploration of the works of the Flemish artist, Jan Brueghel the Elder. I began this two part series last Friday with his painting, the Great Fish Market.
The level of detail down to the leaves and the bark on the trees is amazing, but the rich colors are what attracted me, drawing me in. The heron on the rock seems poised to take flight. Beyond the heron, on the other side of the creek, a path leads deeper into the forest, calling to us to cross over and see where it leads. The scene is beautiful the way a fantasy is, likely because it is, in a way. Brueghel most probably painted it from sketches and memory.
I quoted this last week when discussing the Great Fish Market, but it bears repeating:
“In his forest landscapes Brueghel depicted heavily wooded glades in which he captured the verdant density, and even mystery, of the forest. Although on occasion inhabited by humans and animals, these forest scenes contain dark recesses, virtually no open sky and no outlet for the eye to penetrate beyond the thick trees.” via Wikipedia.
In many ways, Jan Brueghel’s paradise landscapes paved the way for the great plein air painters of the 18th and 19th centuries. This is most definitely a Mannerist landscape painting, as it is highly romanticized.
About the Artist, via Wikipedia:
Jan Brueghel (also Bruegel or Breughel) the Elder (1568 – 13 January 1625) was a Flemish painter and draughtsman. He was the son of the eminent Flemish Renaissance painter Pieter Brueghel the Elder. A close friend and frequent collaborator with Peter Paul Rubens, the two artists were the leading Flemish painters in the first three decades of the 17th century.
Brueghel worked in many genres including history paintings, flower still lifes, allegorical and mythological scenes, landscapes and seascapes, hunting pieces, village scenes, battle scenes and scenes of hellfire and the underworld.
He was an important innovator who invented new types of paintings such as flower garland paintings, paradise landscapes, and gallery paintings in the first quarter of the 17th century.
He also created genre paintings that were imitations, pastiches and reworkings of his father’s works, in particular his father’s genre scenes and landscapes with peasants. Brueghel represented the type of the pictor doctus, the erudite painter whose works are informed by the religious motifs and aspirations of the Catholic Counter-Reformation as well as the scientific revolution with its interest in accurate description and classification. He was court painter of the Archduke and Duchess Albrecht and Isabella, the governors of the Habsburg Netherlands.
The artist was nicknamed “Velvet” Brueghel, “Flower” Brueghel, and “Paradise” Brueghel. The first is believed to have been given him because of his mastery in the rendering of fabrics. The second nickname is a reference to his specialization in flower still lifes and the last one to his invention of the genre of the paradise landscape.
Credits and Attributions:
Forest Landscape by Jan Brueghel the Elder / Public domain
Wikipedia contributors, “Jan Brueghel the Elder,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jan_Brueghel_the_Elder&oldid=963723468 (accessed July 17, 2020).
Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Jan Brueghel (I) – Forest landscape.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Jan_Brueghel_(I)_-_Forest_landscape.jpg&oldid=354133728 (accessed July 17, 2020).