The exciting recent rediscovery in Spain of a missing canvas by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (ca. 1525-69) has jolted a revived public awareness of this great Flemish painter. Best known for his amusing depictions of peasants, landscapes, and Bosch-like fantasies, Bruegel also created a wide range of highly original interpretations of religious themes in an era marked by religious controversies. Over a career of two decades as both a printmaker and a painter, he found his artistic niche in Europe's leading center of international trade, the emerging "capital of capitalism," Antwerp.
This new full-length study examines all works by Pieter Bruegel, including the new Madrid canvas, within the wider setting of art during his lifetime. All of his drawings, prints, and paintings on both canvas and panel are examined for form and content with comprehensive analysis. In addition, interpretation of the full range of Flemish paintings and prints during his generation is presented through the lens of Hieronymus Cock, Bruegel's own print publisher, "At the Sign of the Four Winds." Within this spectrum Bruegel's uniqueness and mastery emerges clearly.
While scholars will appreciate the novel insights of this comprehensive re-examination of Pieter Bruegel, its highly accessible text will introduce newcomers and the general public to the delights of this inventive, trenchant, yet often amusing visual commentator on the human condition. All readers will relish the large-scale reproductions and frequent details in full color of his entire oeuvre in all media. This handsome, large-scale volume will form the definitive study and accessible introduction to the life and art of Pieter Bruegel.