Tag Archives: 17th century landscape paintings

#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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#FineArtFriday: The Bird Concert by Jan Brueghel the Younger ca. 1640 – 45


Artist: Jan Brueghel the Younger (1601–1678)

Title: the Bird Concert

Date: between circa 1640 and circa 1645

Medium: oil on copper

Dimensions: height: 13.2 cm (5.1 in); width: 17.9 cm (7 in)

Collection: Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum

What I love about this painting:

This is a joyous, surreal exploration of all the birds the artist had ever seen in his native Antwerp, and many rare birds that he could only imagine. Brueghel has gathered birds from all over the world into a mystical, fairytale glen, posing them around a songbook.

They are learning to sing a in a language they all can understand, a wonderful allegory of the aspirations of the artist for humanity in the turbulent times during which he lived.

This painting also celebrates the new discoveries made by European explorers, as Brueghel had only seen scientific drawings of many of these birds. Even though he hadn’t seen some of these birds personally, he paints them as if they are before him.

The amazing flock of birds gathered here gives us an insight into the mind and sense of humor of Jan Brueghel the Younger, a man not too different from us even though he lived over 300 years ago.

This composition must have been important to Brueghel and says something about him. He went to the expense of getting copper as the base upon which he painted this scene. He was comfortable but not rich, so that tells me he intended this painting to last, to be something he would be remembered for.

About the medium of Oil on Copper, via Wikipedia:

Oil on copper paintings were prevalent in the mid sixteenth century in Italy and Northern Europe. The use of copper as a substrate for an oil painting dates back to Medieval times. The Flemish masters and other artists including Jan Breughel the ElderClaudeEl GrecoGuido ReniGuercinoRembrandtCarlo SaraceniAmbrosius Bosschaert IICopley Fielding and Vernet painted on copper. They favored copper for its smooth surface which allowed fine detail, and its durability. Copper is more durable than canvas or wood panel as a support for oil painting, as it will not rot, mildew or be eaten by insects. Contemporary painters also use copper as a base for paintings, some of them allowing the metal or patina to show through.

The old masters prepared the copper for painting first by rubbing it with fine pumice abrasive. The copper surface was then treated with garlic juice which is believed to improve adhesion of the paint. Finally a white or grey ground layer of oil paint was applied as a primer. After drying the copper panel was ready for the artist to begin painting. Later artists used the patina process, in which the copper is oxidized with the use of various acidic solutions, as part of the art work itself. The resulting patina or verdigris includes darkening of the metal, green and blue tones, depending on the chemical solution used. Patina is characterized by beautiful, variated patterns and textures which occur on the metal’s surface. [1]

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Jan Brueghel the Younger was born in Antwerp on 13 September 1601 as the son of Jan Brueghel the Elder and Isabella de Jode. His mother was the daughter of the cartographer, engraver and publisher Gerard de Jode. He trained and collaborated with his father in his workshop. His father was a friend and close collaborator of Peter Paul Rubens. Brueghel likely assisted with his father’s large-scale commissions.

On the wishes of his father he traveled around 1622 to Milan where he was welcomed by Cardinal Federico Borromeo. The cardinal was a patron and friend of his father who had met in Rome about 30 years earlier. In what was likely an act of rebellion against his father, he went to Genoa where he stayed with his cousins, the Antwerp painters and art dealers Lucas de Wael and Cornelis de Wael. Their mother was a sister of Brueghel’s mother. At the time his friend and fellow Antwerp artist Anthony van Dyck was also active in Genoa. He later worked in Valletta on Malta in 1623. From 1624 to 1625 he also resided in Palermo on Sicily at the time when van Dyck was also working there.

Brueghel learned that his father had died on 13 January 1625 from cholera only after his return to Northern Italy in Turin. Wanting to return to Antwerp immediately, he had to delay his departure for 16 days due to a severe fever. After recovering from his illness, he set off for his homeland by way of France. In Paris he met the Antwerp art dealer and painter Peter Goetkint the Younger, who was the son of Peter Goetkint the Elder, the master of Jan’s father. Goetkint was eager to return to Antwerp because his wife was expected to deliver a baby soon. The child was born on 25 August, the day on which Breughel arrived in Antwerp with his traveling companion who himself died a few days later.

Brueghel took over the management of his father’s workshop, sold the finished works of his father and finished some of his father’s unfinished paintings after completing them. In the Guild year 1624-1625, Brueghel became a master painter of the Guild of Saint Luke of Antwerp.

In 1626 he married Anna Maria Janssens, daughter of Abraham Janssens, a prominent history painter in Antwerp. He continued to operate the large workshop of his father. He became dean of the Guild of Saint Luke in 1630. That same year he was commissioned by the French court to paint a series of paintings on the life of Adam. It seems that his studio declined after this period and that he started to paint smaller scale paintings which commanded lower prices than those produced earlier.

In later years, he worked independently in Paris in the 1650s and produced paintings for the Austrian court in 1651. He is recorded again in Antwerp in 1657 where he remained until his death. [2]

Credits and Attributions:

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Oil on copper,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Oil_on_copper&oldid=1060711380 (accessed June 9, 2022).

[2] Wikipedia contributors, “Jan Brueghel the Younger,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jan_Brueghel_the_Younger&oldid=1086952033 (accessed June 9, 2022).

Image: The Bird Concert by Jan Brueghel the Younger ca. 1640 -1645, PD|100. Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Bruegel Vogelkonzert@Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum (1).JPG,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media


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#FineArtFriday: Winter Scene by Jan Steen 1650

Inv.nr: 10032

Artist: Jan Steen (1625/1626–1679)

Title: Winter Scene

Date: circa 1650

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: Height: 660 mm (25.98 in); Width: 960 mm (37.79 in)

About this painting, Via Wikimedia Commons:

[1] Winter Scene is one of the earliest known paintings by Steen. With its diagonal composition and silhouetted figures on the ice one can clearly see his early inspirations from paintings such as Isaac van Ostade’s Winter from 1645. Here, as often seen in other works by Steen and his contemporaries, the activities are being watched by a well-dressed couple who occupies a central position in the composition. [1]

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

[2] Jan Havickszoon Steen (c. 1626 – buried 3 February 1679) was a Dutch Golden Age painter, one of the leading genre painters of the 17th century. His works are known for their psychological insight, sense of humour and abundance of colour.

Daily life was Jan Steen’s main pictorial theme. Many of the genre scenes he portrayed, as in The Feast of Saint Nicholas, are lively to the point of chaos and lustfulness, even so much that “a Jan Steen household,” meaning a messy scene, became a Dutch proverb (een huishouden van Jan Steen). Subtle hints in his paintings seem to suggest that Steen meant to warn the viewer rather than invite him to copy this behaviour. Many of Steen’s paintings bear references to old Dutch proverbs or literature. He often used members of his family as models, and painted quite a few self-portraits in which he showed no tendency of vanity.

Steen did not shy from other themes: he painted historical, mythological and religious scenes, portraits, still lifes and natural scenes. His portraits of children are famous. He is also well known for his mastery of light and attention to detail, most notably in Persian rugs and other textiles.

Steen was prolific, producing about 800 paintings, of which roughly 350 survive. His work was valued much by contemporaries and as a result he was reasonably well paid for his work. He did not have many students—only Richard Brakenburgh is recorded—but his work proved a source of inspiration for many painters. [2]

Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Måleri, landskapsbild, vinterlandskap. Jan Steen – Skoklosters slott – 88965.tif,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:M%C3%A5leri,_landskapsbild,_vinterlandskap._Jan_Steen_-_Skoklosters_slott_-_88965.tif&oldid=428348165 (accessed July 22, 2021). Photographer:  Jens Mohr.

Wikipedia contributors, “Jan Steen,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jan_Steen&oldid=1022958604 (accessed July 22, 2021).

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