Pieter Bruegel
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During his lifetime, Pieter Bruegel the Elder was already among the period’s most sought-after artists, with his works achieving exceptionally high prices. Bruegel revolutionised landscape and genre painting, and his compositions continue to elicit varied and controversial interpretations.

Pieter Bruegel trained in the studio of Pieter Coecke van Aelst in Antwerp and was also instructed in the art of miniature painting by the latter’s wife Mayken Verhulst. In 1551 he was admitted as an independent master to the Antwerp painters’ guild. From 1552 to 1554 he travelled through France and Italy. Back in Antwerp he worked for the publisher Hieronymus Cock. From 1562 he mainly worked as a painter. In 1563 he established himself in Brussels, where he died in 1569. Bruegel’s artistic career lasted a mere eighteen years or so. With his relatively small oeuvre, however, he revolutionized landscape and genre painting. In this, engravings after his works played a fundamental role, as unlike his paintings and drawings they were already widely disseminated by the 17th century. Hardly any other artist has undergone such changes in identity over the centuries: from the ‘new Bosch’, ‘Peasant Bruegel’, humanist, moralist or Christian painter to satirist and social critic. We repeatedly seek new paths of access into the work of this great master. An acute observer, Bruegel often holds up a mirror to the viewer, something that makes his work highly immediate and sometimes unsettling, thus giving it a fascinating connection with the here and now.

By bringing together over 90 works by the master, the exhibition at Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna has assembled a comprehensive overview of Bruegel’s oeuvre.
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Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/30 Breugel or Antwerp? – 1569 Brussels) The Tower of Babel after 1563?, oak panel, 59,9 × 74,6 cm Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen © Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Photograph: Studio Tromp, Rotterdam
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/30 Breugel or Antwerp? – 1569 Brussels) The Adoration of the Kings 1564 oak, 112,1 × 83,9 cm National Gallery, London, U.K. © The National Gallery, London 2018
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/30 Breugel or Antwerp? – 1569 Brussels) The Haymaking 1565, oak panel, 114 × 158 cm Prague, The Lobkowicz Collections, Lobkowicz Palace, Prague Castle © The Lobkowicz Collections
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/30 Breugel or Antwerp? – 1569 Brussels) Two Monkeys 1562, oak, 19.8 × 23.3 cm Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie / Christoph Schmidt
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/30 Breugel or Antwerp? – 1569 Brussels) The Conversion of Saul 1567, oak, 108 x 156 cm Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Picture Gallery © KHM-Museumsverband
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/30 Breugel or Antwerp? – 1569 Brussels) Hunters in the Snow 1565, oak panel, 117 × 162 cm Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Picture Gallery © KHM-Museumsverband
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/30 Breugel or Antwerp? – 1569 Brussels) The Gloomy Day 1565, oak panel, 118 × 163 cm Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Picture Gallery © KHM-Museumsverband
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/30 Breugel or Antwerp? – 1569 Brussels) Peasant Dance c. 1568, oak panel, 114 × 164 cm Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Picture Gallery © KHM-Museumsverband
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/30 Breugel or Antwerp? – 1569 Brussels) The Peasant Wedding c. 1567, oak, 114 x 164 cm Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Picture Gallery © KHM-Museumsverband
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/30 Breugel or Antwerp? – 1569 Brussels) The Tower of Babel 1563, oak panel, 114 × 155 cm Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Picture Gallery © KHM-Museumsverband
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/30 Breugel or Antwerp? – 1569 Brussels) Christ Carrying the Cross 1564, oak panel, 124 × 170 cm Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Picture Gallery © KHM-Museumsverband
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/30 Breugel or Antwerp? – 1569 Brussels) The Birdnester 1568, oak, 59,3 x 68,3 cm Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Picture Gallery © KHM-Museumsverband
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/30 Breugel or Antwerp? – 1569 Brussels) The Return of the Herd 1565, oak, 117 × 159 cm Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Picture Gallery © KHM-Museumsverband
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/30 Breugel or Antwerp? – 1569 Brussels) Children’s Games 1560, oak panel, 118 × 161 cm Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Picture Gallery © KHM-Museumsverband
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/30 Breugel or Antwerp? – 1569 Brussels) The Battle between Carnival and Lent 1559, oak panel, 118 × 164,5 cm Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Picture Gallery © KHM-Museumsverband
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/30 Breugel or Antwerp? – 1569 Brussels) The Suicide of Saul 1562, oak panel, 33.5 × 55 cm Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Picture Gallery © KHM-Museumsverband
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/30 Breugel or Antwerp? – 1569 Brussels) Dulle Griet 1563, panel, 117.4 × 162 cm Antwerp, Museum Mayer van den Bergh © Museum Mayer van den Bergh
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/30 Breugel or Antwerp? – 1569 Brussels) The Beekeepers c. 1568 Pen and brown ink, 203 × 309 mm © Foto: Kupferstichkabinett der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz Fotograf/in: Jörg P. Anders
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/30 Breugel or Antwerp? – 1569 Brussels) The Painter and the Connoisseur c. 1566, pen and brown ink, 203 × 309 mm Vienna, Albertina © The Albertina Museum Vienna
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/30 Breugel or Antwerp? – 1569 Brussels) The Adoration of the Magi in the Snow 1563, wood, 35 × 55 cm Swiss Confederation, Federal Office for Culture, Collection Oskar Reinhart ‘Am Römerholz’, Winterthur © Collection Oskar Reinhart ʻAm Römerholzʼ, Winterthur
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/30 Breugel or Antwerp? – 1569 Brussels) The Triumph of Death Probably after 1562, wood 117 × 162 cm Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado © Museo Nacional del Prado
Pieter van der Heyden after Pieter Bruegel the Elder Big Fish Eat Little Fish 1557 Engraving, 230 × 296 mm, first state of four Vienna, Albertina © Albertina, Wien
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/30 Breugel or Antwerp? – 1569 Brussels) View of the Ripa Grande in Rome c. 1555/56 Pen and red-brown and dark brown ink, 207 × 283 mm © Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth Reproduced by permission of Chatsworth Settlement Trustees
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/30 Breugel or Antwerp? – 1569 Brussels) The Temptation of Saint Anthony c. 1556 Pen and brush and brown and greybrown ink 215 (right) / 216 (left) × 326 mm Oxford, The Ashmolean Museum, Bequeathed by Frances Douce, 1834 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/30 Breugel or Antwerp? – 1569 Brussels) The Adoration of the Kings 1564 oak, 112,1 × 83,9 cm National Gallery, London, U.K. © The National Gallery, London 2018
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/30 Breugel or Antwerp? – 1569 Brussels) View of the Bay of Naples c. 1563?, panel, 42.2 × 71.2 cm Rome, Galleria Doria Pamphilj © Rome, Galleria Doria Pamphilj
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