Years ago, while visiting the National Gallery of Denmark, I was stopped in my tracks as I came across a painting identified as a Bruegel the Elder work. I wasn’t floored so much for the painting’s beauty, but my mouth hung open because I had never seen it or heard of it before. The painting, “Christ Driving the Money-Lenders From the Temple,” was listed in none of my many Bruegel monographs. How could this be? I wondered. How can a museum hang a work and call it “Bruegel” when everyone else in the world doesn’t agree that it is a Bruegel?
Currently a fascinating exhibit covering the painting is underway. Tracing Bosch and Bruegel: Four Paintings Magnified investigates four similar paintings that are done in the Bosch style, which was also emulated by Bruegel in his earlier paintings. The exhibit seeks to answer the questions of who painted the works and when were they painted. Further, how did these four very different paintings of essentially the same scene come to hang in the three galleries and one private collection?
While my specific question regarding the labeling of the Copenhagen painting isn’t answered in the exhibit, it does provide countless other fascinating details. You can learn more about the exhibit at the excellent website: http://www.bosch-bruegel.com. The creators of the website should be applauded at their exceptional work. While I am not likely to see the exhibit in any of the locations to which it travels, I feel as if I have experienced it due to the wealth of information provided on the web. In addition, at least two conferences and a monograph are planned around the exhibitions, with further interesting information certainly to be revealed.
I’ve really enjoyed reading the Twitter feed as the exhibit came together. Hannah Tempest did an excellent job tweeting the process of cleaning and restoration, and providing highly interesting images.
The questions remains – after the exhibit and the Copenhagen painting travels back to the National Gallery – will it still be labeled as “Bruegel?”
I’m interested to hear from folks who have seen the exhibit first hand. What was it like?
There was big news in the Bruegel-verse, with the fall 2011 auction season generating a new record for a price paid for a Brueghel the Younger painting. Brueghel expert Klaus Ertz called the version of “The Battle Between Carnival and Lent” which was sold “of masterly quality”, which certainly helped the work achieve a the record price of £6,873,250.
Of this sale, the New York Times’ Souren Melikian said:
“In the days of abundance, Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s vast allegory “The Battle Between Carnival and Lent” would not have aroused wild enthusiasm. No fewer than five versions of the subject have been recorded, of which three are from the painter’s own hand. These are not even original but are interpretations of Pieter Brueghel the Elder’s composition. On Dec. 7, 2006, “The Battle Between Carnival and Lent” cost £3.26 million at Christie’s. On Tuesday it rose to £6.87 million. The easy, large Brueghelian image appeals to a new generation of bidders loath to spend much time parsing the subtleties of great masters, whether in compositional inventiveness or the brilliance of brushwork.”
What we believe to be the first movie using Bruegel as a main character is now playing across North America. “The Mill and the Cross,” written by Lech Majewki and Michael Francis Gibson, and based on Gibson’s book, has Bruegel’s painting 1564 painting “Way to Calvary” come to life.
The movie has received mostly positive reviews, and currently has a 7.3/10 rating on IMDB.com
We look forward to providing a full review once we have had a chance to view the film.
Welcome to Bruegel Now, the website that celebrates everything Bruegel / Brueghel related.
Although born nearly 500 years ago, Pieter Bruegel and his sons’ impact continue to be felt today. From museum exhibits to new monographs reprinting their painting to ever-increasing prices paid for their work at auction, the Bruegel / Brueghel phenomenon continues unabated. The Bruegel / Brueghel family members continue to be in the news, with the “discovery” of a Bruegel painting in Prado within the last year making the front pages of newspapers around the globe.
The purpose of this website is to provide one-stop access to all things happening “Now” in the Bruegel / Brueghel word. Movies, books, auctions and exhibitions are just some of the items that will be covered. Some of these items are academic in nature, while others firmly reside in pop culture. Regardless, both have a place in Bruegel Now.
You likely will notice that we have more material about the Pieters Bruegel / Brueghel than Jan Brueghel or the other Brueghels. This is because the Pieters interest us much more than Jan. In him time, Jan was much more popular than Peter. Jan Brueghel was a friend of Rubens and his art sold for much more than the works of Pieter the Younger. Now, hundreds of years later, the “inferior” Pieter the Younger paintings command multiples of what Jan sells for – sibling rivalry at the highest level!
This website is also a place to hear from you. We want to learn your thoughts on all things Bruegel / Brueghel, so don’t be shy about posting a comment to any of the stories that you see.
Welcome to Bruegel Now!