Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Major monograph for Pieter Bruegel the Elder - exhibition, book, art, videos, and commentary

A 'once in several lifetimes' Bruegel exhibition opens at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna today, 2 October and continues until 13 January 2019. It's the largest which has ever been held and reunites more work than ever before.
2019 sees the 450th anniversary of the death of Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c 1525/30 – 1569). To mark the occasion the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna is dedicating the world’s first ever major monograph exhibition to the artist widely regarded as the 16th century’s greatest Netherlandish painter.
website for the Bruegel exhibition in Vienna
This post contains links to 
  • essays and articles about Bruegel 
  • artwork by Bruegel
  • videos about both the exhibition and some of the paintings that can be seen in the exhibition.
  • exhibition reviews - which are FIVE STAR!
With its vibrant vistas of comedy and horror, this astonishing exhibition reveals how the 16th-century Flemish master created art that was simply more human and generous than anyone else’s Jonathan Jones

The Exhibition

This is the Museum's video about the exhibition - it's in German but the subtitles are in English

These are links to the different sections of the exhibition's website

I remember being very impressed by Bruegel's painting in the exhibition at the Queen's Gallery in 2009 - when I saw Massacre of the Innocents (in the Royal Collection) - see my review Exhibition review: From Bruegel to Rubens - Masters of Flemish Painting.

Who is Pieter Bruegel the Elder?

The Painter and the Buyer (1565) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1526-1569)
pen and brown ink
Pieter Bruegel (also Brueghel) the Elder (Dutch: [ˈpitər ˈbrøːɣəɫ]; c. 1525-1530 – 9 September 1569) was the most significant artist of Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting, a painter and printmaker from Brabant, known for his landscapes and peasant scenes (so called genre painting); he was a pioneer in making both types of subject the focus in large paintings. Wikipedia

Despite the indications of the drawing above, he was just over 40 years old when he died and achieved a huge amount in his lifetime in terms of travels, paintings, drawings and etchings and recognition.

He was born just after the start of the Protestant Reformation and thus became a pioneer of genre scenes - of the activities of common people - after religious subjects stopped being the feature of most paintings.
while early scholarship emphasized the vernacular character of his painting and graphic work, modern research has attached greater importance to its humanistic content. Taschen
He designed prints for publisher Hieronymus Cock, and produced numerous print series that were distributed throughout Europe.

As a painter his paintings were more highly valued by collectors than critics.
The collectors got it right - as his paintings continue to be ever popular to this day!

More sources about Bruegel

This monograph is a testament to Bruegel’s evolution as an artist, one who bravely confronted the issues of his day all the while proposing new inventions and solutions. Rather than idealizing reality, he addressed the horrors of religious warfare and took a critical stand against the institution of the Church. To this end, he developed his own pictorial language of dissidence, lacing innocuous everyday scenes with subliminal statements in order to escape repercussions. Taschen

Artwork by Bruegel

Google Arts and Culture

This is a link to Bruegel paintings on Google Arts and Culture where you can see large images with good definition
Pieter Bruegel the Elder was the most significant artist of Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting, a painter and printmaker from Brabant, known for his landscapes and peasant scenes; he was a pioneer in making both types of subject the focus in large paintings.

The Six Seasonal Paintings

The series also included:


He developed a series of paintings about Proverbs which started with one painting

Metropolitan Museum of Art

  • The Harvesters - from a cycle of paintings commissioned to show six different times in the year. This image provides close-ups of different parts of the painting.
  • Big Fish eat Little Fish - from a series of engravings about proverbs

The Tower of Babel

Videos about Bruegel's artwork

Smart History has some videos on YouTube which discuss paintings by Bruegel the Elder

Hunters in the Snow

Peasant Wedding

Exhibition Reviews

This exhibition is getting five star reviews

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