Bruegel

R975

Pieter Bruegel the Elder (died 1569) has always been acknowledged as one of the greatest and most influential artists in the history of the Netherlands. His fame began to spread in the course of his short life and the popularity of his work continued to rise during the centuries following his death in 1569. It is all the more astonishing, therefore, that we know so very little about the artist’s life, his training, his opinions on art and society, and his doings and whereabouts during his artistic career of just seventeen years.

Description

Pieter Bruegel the Elder (died 1569) has always been acknowledged as one of the greatest and most influential artists in the history of the Netherlands. His fame began to spread in the course of his short life and the popularity of his work continued to rise during the centuries following his death in 1569. It is all the more astonishing, therefore, that we know so very little about the artist’s life, his training, his opinions on art and society, and his doings and whereabouts during his artistic career of just seventeen years. Bruegel must be judged by the wonderful ensemble of forty-odd paintings, slightly more than sixty drawings and some seventy designs for prints that have come down to us. Due to the combination of his elusive life with the highly intricate and complex subjects, there are – as for Jheronimus Bosch, with whom he was already compared during his lifetime – numerous myths about the artist and his work. At the very core of his great oeuvre stands a man who more than any other artist bridges the pictorial traditions of the Flemish Primitives and the golden era of Rubens and Van Dyck. But in the end Bruegel is one of the greatest painters and draughtsmen in the history of Western art, and above all an artist with a disturbingly sharp insight into the frailty of human morals, a sound sense of humour, and a unique pictorial wit.