Saturday, June 17, 2006

More About Pieter Bruegel

Pieter Bruegel the elder was my age when he died. (Look it up yourself.) He didn't have time to instruct his boys and their skills never matched their fathers. Comparing the two pictures gives you that insight even though neither image can do a bit of justice to the original paintings. Pieter Brueghel the younger inherited a tradition that his father had inherited. According to Paul Johnson in, Art: A New History, " Bruegel inherited the Flemish tradition of detailed 'reading' pictures, in which scores of separate incidents, illustrating a common theme, have to be read like chapters in a book....Most of his ("Old" Bruegel) reading pictures, 'Netherlandish Proverbs,' 'Children's Games,' and 'Battle Between Carnival and Lent,' for example are mainstream storytelling, done with extraordinary ingenuity and skill....These works were simply intended to give delight, and have succeeded, over four centuries."

'Hunters in the Snow' is, according to Paul Johnson, one of the dozen best-loved pictures in the world. (Wow!) In A Treasury of Art Masterpieces, Thomas Craven comments, "It hardly seems possible that Bruegel, with no antecedent suggestions, could have taken landscape, hitherto a decorative adjunct to figure painting, and at one stroke, have made it an art in its own right. His work in this field, in construction, depth, and the relation of the natural background to the occupation of man, is equaled only by the cosmic, autumnal scenes of Rubens." 'Hunters in the Snow' is part of a series of landscapes to show the seasons. Six were completed (it is thought he may have planned 12 for each month,) but one has been lost.

Even though he couldn't personally teach his sons, his works provided an extraordinary example from which to learn from.


Erin said...

That's really sad that his sons couldn't "take lessons" persay from their father. They sure did well copying his style tho!

Great post Mom!!

Traci said...

Wow! I really like that picture! Mom had a book of paintings that we studyed years ago and I think that one was in it. I recongize it from somewhere.......