Jan Brueghel the Elder
Forest Landscape with Men at Rest
Oil on panel. Diameter 17.8 cm.
It became apparent early on that Jan Brueghel would follow his own path in his painterly work. He was of course influenced by the popular works of his father Pieter Brueghel the Elder, but the copies which he and his brother Pieter Brueghel the Younger produced after his compositions soon began to vary. The formats became smaller and he set new accents. Jan Brueghel also brought home a large repertoire of new motifs from Italy. However, first and foremost it was the heritage of his homeland that inspired his unending love of detail - which the viewer almost needs a magnifying glass to appreciate. Wherever you look in his works, you discover little stories and interactions between characters. The contents and compositions of the works had already become more crude and realistic under his father Pieter the Elder.
Klaus Ertz dates this small-format circular picture between 1595 and 1610, and describes it as a "transition to modernism" within the oeuvre of Jan Brueghel the Elder.
Dr. Klaus Ertz, Lingen, 18.11.2008.
Spanish private collection.