#FineArtFriday: River Landscape by Jan Brueghel the Elder 1614

A_Wooded_River_Landscape_with_a_Landing_Stage,_Boats…_by_Jan_Brueghel_the_ElderArtist: Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568–1625)

Title: River Landscape (Wooded river landscape with a landing stage, boats, various figures and a village beyond).

Date: 1614

Medium: oil on copper

Dimensions: height: 25.9 cm (10.1 in); width: 37 cm (14.5 in)

What I love about this painting:

Men, women, and children fill the boats for a day on the river, dressed in colorful garb. Everyone is in good spirits, looking forward to a day of relaxing and perhaps a little fishing. Onshore, crews will fillet and smoke or salt whatever can’t be eaten right way. When weather is fine and the fish are plentiful, the party is on. Everyone will eat well for a few days.

About this painting, via Wikipedia:

Jan Brueghel’s father, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, is regarded as an important innovator of landscape art. By introducing greater naturalism in his Alpine mountain settings, his father had expanded on the world landscape tradition that had been founded mainly by Joachim Patinir. Some of Pieter the Elder’s works also foreshadowed the forest landscape that would start to dominate landscape painting around the turn of the 16th century. Pieter the Elder also developed the village and rural landscape, placing Flemish hamlets and farms in exotic prospects of mountains and river valleys.

Jan developed on the formula he learned from his father of arranging country figures traveling a road, which recedes into the distance. He emphasized the recession into space by carefully diminishing the scale of figures in the foreground, middle-ground, and far distance. To further the sense of atmospheric perspective, he used varying tones of brown, green, and blue progressively to characterize the recession of space. His landscapes with their vast depth are balanced through his attention to the peasant figures and their humble activities in the foreground.

Jan Brueghel’s landscape paintings with their strong narrative elements and attention to detail had a significant influence on Flemish and Dutch landscape artists in the second decade of the 17th century. His river views were certainly known to painters working in Haarlem, including Esaias van de Velde and Willem Buytewech, whom Brueghel may have met there when he accompanied Peter Paul Rubens on a diplomatic mission to the Dutch Republic in 1613. [1]

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Jan Brueghel (also Bruegel or Breughelthe Elder 1568 – 13 January 1625) was a Flemish painter and draughtsman. He was the son of the eminent Flemish Renaissance painter Pieter Bruegel 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 further 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 fame as a painter of (although not a specialist in) flower pieces and the last one to his invention of the genre of the paradise landscape. His brother Pieter Brueghel the Younger was traditionally nicknamed “de helse Brueghel” or “Hell Brueghel” because it was believed he was the author of a number of paintings with fantastic depictions of fire and grotesque imagery. These paintings have now been reattributed to Jan Brueghel the Elder. [1]


Credits and Attributions:

Image:  River Landscape by Jan Brueghel the Elder, 1614. Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:A Wooded River Landscape with a Landing Stage, Boats… by Jan Brueghel the Elder.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:A_Wooded_River_Landscape_with_a_Landing_Stage,_Boats%E2%80%A6_by_Jan_Brueghel_the_Elder.jpg&oldid=358393285 (accessed June 17, 2022).

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Jan Brueghel the Elder,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jan_Brueghel_the_Elder&oldid=1082625249 (accessed June 17, 2022).

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