#FineArtFriday: Mountain River Landscape, Jan Brueghel the younger and Joos de Momper the Younger

A collaborative work by:

Jan Brueghel the Younger  (1601–1678)

Joos de Momper the Younger  (1564–1635)

Title:    An extensive mountainous river landscape with travellers near a village

Date:   by 1678

Medium: oil on panel

Dimensions: Height: 46.5 cm (18.3 in); Width: 66 cm (25.9 in)

Collection: Private collection

What I like about this painting:

There is an intensity, a richness of color in the foreground, and a subtle chastisement the subject matter of this picture.

In the center we have a beggar on his knees and praying before a cross, with his worldly possessions stacked beside him and his dog patiently waiting. All around him, the world is going about its business. Shepherds are moving their flocks from one field to another, a merchant urges his horse-drawn cart down the hill. Further down the hill, another merchant unloads a wagon. At the right of the beggar, two travelers on horseback ignore the outstretched hand of yet another beggar, this one an old woman.

This painting is relatively less known, a scene composed and executed by two prolific artists, both of whom were the sons of two of the more famous artists of the 17th century.

At first glance this seems like an ordinary bucolic view of a village and surrounding countryside. Yet, I think the lesson they offer us is clear—we go through life relatively comfortably, unaware of the opportunities for charity that are all around us.

Both artists made their livings from their work so there was a market for what they produced. For both Brueghel and de Momper, their fathers (and in Brueghel’s case, his grandfather ) were hard acts to follow.

About the Artists, via Wikipedia:

Joos de Momper the Younger  primarily painted landscapes, the genre for which he was highly regarded during his lifetime. Only a small number of the 500 paintings attributed to de Momper are signed and just one is dated. The large output points to substantial workshop participation. He often collaborated with figure painters such as Frans Francken II, Peter Snayers, Jan Brueghel the Elder and Jan Brueghel the Younger, usually on large, mountainous landscapes, whereby the other painters painted the staffage (people) and de Momper the landscape. His works were often featured in the prestigious gallery paintings of collections (real and imagined) from the early seventeenth century.

Jan Brueghel the Younger was born and died in the 17th century in Antwerp. He was trained by his father and spent his career producing works in a similar style. Along with his brother Ambrosius, he produced landscapes, allegorical scenes and other works of meticulous detail. Brueghel also copied works by his father and sold them with his father’s signature. His work is distinguishable from that of his parent by being less well executed and lighter.

In an episode of BBC’s Britain’s Lost Masterpieces broadcast in November 2019, a very badly damaged picture of a village scene, whose panel has spilt into two pieces, was located at Birmingham Art Gallery. Following a complete restoration by Simon Gillespie, the landscape was attributed to Joos de Momper and the figures were attributed to Jan the Younger.


Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Jan Brueghel II and Joos de Momper II – An extensive mountainous river landscape with travellers near a village.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Jan_Brueghel_II_and_Joos_de_Momper_II_-_An_extensive_mountainous_river_landscape_with_travellers_near_a_village.jpg&oldid=345270137 (accessed November 19, 2020).

Wikipedia contributors, “Jan Brueghel the Younger,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jan_Brueghel_the_Younger&oldid=988772158 (accessed November 19, 2020).

Wikipedia contributors, “Joos de Momper,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Joos_de_Momper&oldid=988664019 (accessed November 19, 2020).

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