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Definition: Brueghel, Pieter the Elder (c.1525-69) from Environmental History and Global Change: A Dictionary of Environmental History

Artist, born in Breda, the most famous Flemish painter of his day noted for early landscapes. Hunters in the Snow, painted in 1565 during the ‘first great winter of the Little Ice Age’ (Lamb 1982) is well known, as is his 1567 painting of the three kings visiting the infant Jesus.


Summary Article: Brueghel Pieter, the Elder
from Chambers Biographical Dictionary

also spelt

Breughel

or (after 1559)

Bruegel

also called

"Peasant" Brueghel

c.1520-1569

Flemish artist

He was born in the village of Bruegel, near Breda, and was the pupil of Pieter Coecke van Aelst (1502-50). An early influence on his work was Hieronymus Bosch. He was made a master of the Antwerp guild in 1551 and then went to Italy. His work was highly regarded, particularly by Rubens, and much of it was bought for royal collections, but his reputation went into decline until the beginning of the 20th century. His pictures, often highly sophisticated moral commentaries derived from everyday sayings and proverbs, mainly depict earthy peasants engaging in all sorts of activities against a backdrop of well-observed landscape, and the truthfulness of his rendering of peasant life and weather conditions marks his work out from the Italianate style of his Netherlandish contemporaries. This genre reached its highest expression in his later works, The Blind Leading the Blind (1568), The Peasant Wedding (1568) and The Peasant Dance (1568). His principal works are in Vienna but there are two examples, The Adoration of the Kings and The Death of the Virgin, in the National Gallery, London.

© Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2011

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