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Who is... Pieter Bruegel?

DIVINE COMEDY 'Peasant wedding'

DIVINE COMEDY 'Peasant wedding'  

Called Pieter Bruegel the Elder to distinguish him from his son, Pieter was born in Breda in Netherlands in 1525. He was the most famous member of four generations of southern Flemish painters who held sway in the 16th and 17th Century.

He spelt his name as Brueghel till 1559 and then dropped the `H.' His sons however, retained the H. Accepted as a master in the Antwerp Painters Guild in 1551, he was apprentice to Coecke van Aelst, a leading painter, sculptor and designer.

He made the artist's mandatory visit to Italy in 1551 or 1552 and on his return in 1553, settled in Antwerp.

COMPOSITE VIEW 'Landscape with the Fall of lcarus'

COMPOSITE VIEW 'Landscape with the Fall of lcarus'  

Ten years later he moved to Brussels. He married Aelst's daughter, Mayken in 1563. Aelst's wife was also a painter and gave Bruegel's sons their first instruction in art.

In 1564 the couple had their first son, Pieter and in 1568, the second son, Jan was born. A year later, in September of 1569, Bruegel died and in 1578 Mayken died. The boys were brought up by their grandmother.

Pieter Brueghel the Younger and his brother were both painters of some renown as were their children.

A sketch of Pieter Bruegel

A sketch of Pieter Bruegel  

Pieter Bruegel the Elder was often called "peasant Bruegel" as he concentrated on bucolic scenes of peasants making merry. There was also a mistaken assumption that Bruegel was a peasant himself.

Bruegel was always fascinated with landscapes and his paintings are marvels of details. In paintings like Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, he places the mythical story in a detailed setting. The narrative and the "set" are of equal importance. He also did fantastic engravings in the manner of Hieronymus Bosch.

While his compositions reflect the grandeur of the Renaissance, they also are rooted in a reality with real people in real situations. And while at first glance, his peasant paintings look like villagers having a good time, a closer look reveals the starving musician and other indications that the paintings are not to be taken at face value.

MINI ANTHIKAD-CHHIBBER

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