Meet the Masters
BRUEGHEL, PIETER (Broo-gl, Pee-ter) (1525-1569)
HARVESTERS METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART NEW YORK CITY
Northern Renaissance Date: 1565 Size: 46 1/8” x 63” Medium: Oil on Wood
ARTIST - Pieter Brueghel, The Elder, was a Flemish artist of the sixteenth century. He studied in Antwerp and was a registered member of the Antwerp Guild. In 1563, he moved to Brussels, married, and began raising a family. He had a successful life as a painter and was a member of a distinguished group of humanists. His favorite subjects were peasants and country scenes. His paintings are often called 'genre' (daily life) paintings. He painted peasants merrymaking, feasting, and working and because of this people sometimes think of him as one of the Flemish peasants. He was even nicknamed “Peasant Brueghel.” He believed that peasant life was rough and saw it in relationship to the background of nature. Brueghel’s peasants are stolid, hearty members of the community. He portrayed them in broad, flat areas of color, with structural perspective and grandeur of composition. His two sons, (Pieter, The Younger, and Jan, called Velvet), both became painters. The name Brueghel is also spelled Bruegel depending on the reference book used, particularly for Pieter, The Elder.
PRINT - The Harvesters, was originally named August. It depicts peasants in their daily activities in the fields. Like most of Brueghel's work, this painting tells a story. The work, customs and dress of the workers are clearly seen. The figures are solid and rounded. Most of their activity is in the foreground, or front of the picture. Brueghel achieves depth by painting an area of hills and trees in the middle ground. Behind it the fading background is almost hidden in a mist of atmosphere. The large tree in the foreground serves to unite the whole picture. As with most of his works, humans and nature are bound together in the composition.
PORTFOLIO A PAIRED WITH:
CHAGALL I AND THE VILLAGE