I Jan Brueghel

Forest Landscape

Forest Landscape
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Author: I Jan Brueghel
Landscape, Painting, Oil on panel, 51.5x91.5 cm
Origin: Flanders, 1607

This composition by Jan Brueghel the Elder is close to works of his contemporary, and possibly even his teacher, the Netherlandish landscape artist Gillis III van Coninxloo . However, unlike the Romantic and sometimes sad works of Coninxloo this canvas conveys an atmosphere of tranquillity, evoking pleasant daydreams and reminiscences. Moreover, while the forest in Coninxloo's canvases always attracts us by its enigmatic freshness, here nothing attracts our view and does not lead it into the depths. Instead the viewer's attention remains fixed on the small patch of the forest in the foreground where many tiny figures wearing multi-coloured clothing are concentrated and where the artist has conveyed with astonishing precision the dry branches, the birds hiding in the thick undergrowth, as well as assorted fanciful types of vegetation and foliage. The Virgin Mary supports the Child on her knees and sits next to the roots of trees, surrounded by peasants and woodcutters who are busy performing their usual daily work. At first glance it appears as if the artist is telling us about a very ordinary episode in life, rather than a Biblical story.

Personage: Jesus, the Virgin Mary, St Joseph
Source of entry: Collection of Count von Bruhl, Dresden, 1769
Theme: The Bible and Christianity
Exibition: Flemish Art: 17th century

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