Jan Brueghel the Younger Jan Brueghel the Elder - Still Life with Tulips, Roses, Narcissi, Forget-Me-Not and Other Flowers in a Glass Vase
Jan Brueghel the Younger
Jan Brueghel the Elder
Still Life with Tulips, Roses, Narcissi, Forget-Me-Not and Other Flowers in a Glass Vase
Oil on copper. 30.5 x 20.7 cm.
This floral still life is a collaboration between Jan Brueghel the Elder and his son, the younger Jan Brueghel, as Klaus Ertz (op. cit., p. 901) has established. It must have been painted in around 1620, when Jan Brueghel the Younger was already working in his father's studio. At that time, the elder Jan Brueghel was at the height of his career; as court painter to the governors of the Southern Netherlands, he was, alongside Peter Paul Rubens, one of the leading artists in Flanders. Ertz sees the signature of the father above all in the meticulously executed tulips, while he attributes the "painterly, agitated depiction" of the roses and the carnation, for example, to the son.
Another version of this composition has survived - of comparable format and also painted on copper; which is also a collaboration between father and son (Ertz, ibid., p. 900f, no. 426). This version, in private ownership, is interesting in that the depiction of flowers is accompanied by a verse. Although it is unclear whether the poem was actually written by Brueghel, it nevertheless indicates how contemporaries received this and other flower still lifes as an expression of the transience of all that is beautiful.
The first two lines read:
Why look at the flowers, which stand before you so finely
And by the sun's power all too soon fade away.
The flower still life demonstrates on the one hand the artist's ability to unite flowers from many different months and seasons in one image, thus reproducing the beauty of divine creation. On the other hand, however, it also reminds the viewer that all beauty is fleeting.
Following in his father's footsteps, Jan Brueghel the younger set off for Italy soon after completing this still life. There, he too met with Cardinal Federico Borromeo, Archbishop of Milan, whose patronage his father had enjoyed two decades earlier - and who had inspired Jan Brueghel the Elder to paint floral still lifes in the first place. In 1625, he travelled on to Sicily with his friend Antonis van Dyck (who depicted his father in an impressive portrait, see fig. 1). Shortly thereafter, Jan Brueghel was called home because his father had succumbed to cholera. He was destined to take over his father's studio and continue the tradition of one of the most important dynasties of artists in Flanders.
Galerie Leegenhoeck, Paris, 1991. - Charrière de Severy, Château de Severy, 1991. - Swiss private collection.- Bob Haboldt, Paris, 2001. - Private collection. - Sotheby´s New York, 24.01.2008, lot 54. - Bernheimer Fine Old Masters, Munich.
Claudia Salvi: D´après nature, La nature morte en France au XVIIe siècle, Tournai 2000, p. 8 (as Jan Brueghel the Elder). - Klaus Ertz and Claudia Nitze -Ertz: Jan Brueghel der Ältere (1568-1625), Kritischer Katalog der Gemälde, vol. III, Lingen 2008-2010, p. 902, no. 427, illustration p. 903 (as Jan Brueghel the Elder and Jan Brueghel the Younger).