The Brueghel Boys -Pieter and Jan

I have known for a long time that there several artists in the Brueghel family but I was only familiar with the work of Pieter the Elder. To me Pieter was the master of creating paintings where there are no individual portraits and the figures cut a pattern of exalted movement on a canvas animated by the rhythm of colour (Bruegel by Bob Claessens & Jeanne Rousseau).

Through my reading I have discovered that Pieter had two sons and possibly a daughter Marie though sadly I can’t find what happened to her. I have discovered that after the death of their father the boys went to live with their maternal grandmother Mayken Verhulst who was an accomplished artist herself and probably their first teacher. DNA plus the right environment is a gift from God for an aspiring artist. The first son Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1564/1565–1637/1638) is known mainly as a copyist of his father’s work though he did produce works in his own right. This is The Preaching of St John the Baptist (1601-04), a copy of one of his father's painting done in 1566.
And this is The Summer authenticated as by the hand of Pieter Brueghel the Younger.
The number of art critics claiming the only Bruegel painting worth considering is by Pieter Bruegel the Elder is considerable so you end up feeling very sorry for his offspring. I for one quite like the work of his son Pieter. Maybe inheriting all that artistic DNA isn't worth it! Pieter Brueghel the Younger's son Pieter Brueghel III (1589–c. 1640) became a painter in 1608 and, like his father, was known as a copyist, mainly of his grandfather's work. I couldn't find any images of his own original works.

Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568-1625) was the younger son of Pieter Bruegel the Elder. He became an well known artist in his own right as his style was very different to that of his brother and father. This is The Entry of the Animals into Noah's Ark and if you study it you can see the outstanding quality of the drawings. Jan worked in many genres including flower still life pieces as shown in Flowers in a Wooden Vessel.
He created allegorical and mythological scenes. And wonderful landscapes and seascapes. This is River Landscape with Fish.

Jan Brueghel the Elder was a close friend of Peter Paul Rubens who painted this portrait of Jan and his family. Rubens will be featured soon in a Blog so we can admire his astonishing artistic ability.

There were at least four children born to Jan Brueghel the Elder and his wife Isabella de Jode who continued the artistic dynasty. We will meet them tomorrow before we say farewell to the Brueghels and Flemish artists for the time being.

Anne Newman

Oil Painter in realistic genre style, predominantly buildings and people. To continue the discussion contact Anne on or phone +61 407 516 522

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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