Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Pieter Bruegel (b. ca. 1525, Breughel, d. 1569, Bruxelles) known as the Elder, has given an immense contribution to art.  He was an expert in depicting landscapes and scenes of peasant life. He stressed the absurd and vulgar, yet, his paintings are full of zest and fine details.  Bruegel, in his landscapes and town views, was able to show minute lively figures and was wonderful in rendering movement.  He was also able to depict, as Bosch’s the “ Ship of Fools” the human weaknesses and follies: in the Netherlandish Proverbs (1559) he uses a bird’s-eye perspective and his role players are the rustic people of every day, they aren’t covered with artificial and conventional gentlemen’s manors, on the contrary they are, indeed, the real peasants, butchers, farmers, the house women and the kids playing, who do not bother to pose elegantly, for they are not acting they are living!  Bruegel, utterly succeeded,  in representing them and the artists to come where deeply influenced by his style. Michelangelo once said: “They paint in Flanders only to deceive the external eye… their paint is of stuff, bricks and mortar, the grass of fields, the shadow of trees and bridges and rivers, which they call landscapes, and little figures here and there”. I disagree…

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