Jan Brueghel the Younger - ALLEGORY OF EARTH
Jan Brueghel the Younger
ALLEGORY OF EARTH
Oil on copper. 59 x 91 cm.
The composition is derived from a painting of larger size wich is part of a set of four paintings made by Jan Brueghel the Elder with the collaboration of Hendrik van Balen, which belongs today to the Galleria Doria Pamphilij in Rome (inv. 322, 328, 332, 348. See K. Ertz, Jan Brueghel der Ältere, 1979, p. 368-376) datable around 1611. The Four Elements series has undoubtedly known a huge popularity in Flanders since the second decade of the 17th Century, their compositional schemes being continuously used by four generations of Antwerp painters linked to the Brueghel family. Within this sequence the "Allegory of the Earth" on copper occupies a chronologically position relativaly close to the original design. Jan Brueghel the Younger assisted by Hendrick van Balen or a collaborator repeated it at least twice (see K. Ertz, Jan Breughel der Jüngere, 1984, p. 357-365), one version being owned by the Musée des Beaux-Arts of Lyons (inv. A74, panel, 46 x 83 cm), probably produced about 1620, the second datable a decade later belonging to the Paul Getty Museum (A71-P29, panel, 52.5 x 81.5 cm). Other versions were also made in his workshop, the production expanding thereafter also to nephews from the Van Kessel family as shown by Ferdinand van Kessel on a canvas in the present sale (lot 1084).
The Allegory of Earth is personified by Ceres seating at the centre of the composition. She is surrounded by four figures including a satyre and two putti handing her wheat and garlands of foliage and fruits. Surrounding the group there are numerous symbolic references to nature in the form of animals, a couple of apes and guinea-pigs, various vegetables and fruits such as artichokes, cucumber, carrots, water melon and flowers. Ertz dates the painting to the end of the thirties similarly as the Getty version, the collaborator of Jan for the figures being here an unknown master from the circle of Van Balen. - We thank Dr. Hélène Mund, Brussels, for this catalogue entry.
Klaus Ertz, Lingen, 5.5.2011.
Private collection, South Germany.