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BRUEGHEL, Jan the Elder/ ARTISTS BEFORE 1650/ MAIN ART original lfff site
(b. cca. 1568, Bruxelles, d. 1625, Antwerpen) film and food  

Jan Brueghel (1568-1625), called the "velvet Brueghel," was the second son of Pieter Brueghel the Elder and, like his brother Pieter Brueghel the Younger, made his career in Antwerp. Known for his still lifes of flowers and for his landscapes, he was a friend of Peter Paul Rubens and collaborated with him in paintings such as Adam and Eve in Paradise. He specialized in small wooded scenes that were finely finished and brightly colored. His style was perpetuated by his sons Jan Brueghel II (1601-78) and Ambrosius Brueghel (1617-75), whose sons carried on the tradition into the 18th century.

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Jan Brueghel – amazon UK
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Great Fish-Market

Oil on panel, 58,5 x 91,5 cm
Alte Pinakothek, Munich
Brueghel’s Great Fish-Market, dating from the year 1603, contains many elements of Mannerist landscape painting. Rendered in a perspective that is almost a bird’s-eye-view, the scene opens up across a downward-sloping foreground teeming with hundreds of figures grouped around the stalls and booths of a fishmarket. The eye is drawn towards the harbour in the background, out across the bay and along the coastline, past entire towns with ruins, piers and fortresses, into the depths of the mountains, whose blue merges with the sea.

What we see here is a universal landscape, but one broken down into individual themes that are soon to establish themselves as genres in their own right. Fish-market scenes of this kind were to become an independent subject in Flemish painting, for example in the works of Snyder. Still life paintings of fish, such as that displayed for sale here, would also begin to emerge. Marine painting, ruins, and even pure landscape are all to be found as elements in this painting. We even seem to be able to make out a family portrait: the group at the centre of the foreground is thought to be a self portrait of the painter in the company of his family.


The Sense of Taste

Oil on panel, 64 x 108 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

This painting belongs to a series representing the Five Senses.

Many of Brueghel’s paintings include a view in the background, through colonnades, of gardens and stately homes, creating the impression of extensive manorial landed property, as in this painting devoted to ‘gustus’ (taste). Fish, fruit and hunting trophies are piled up in the foreground and behind them, parallel with the top and bottom edges of paintings, we can see a lavishly set table with swan and peacock pies, a bowl of oysters, crayfish and fruit. In front of the table, at an angle, there is a dessert bowl full of sweets. The personification of Taste is being served wine poured from a jug by a Satyr.