Jan Brueghel the Elder
WIDE LANDSCAPE WITH CART, RIDERS AND WANDERERS
Oil on copper. 17,8 x 27,2 cm.
This picturesque painting of outstanding quality depicts a road populated with horsemen, horse carts and walkers in the foreground. The composition leads diagonally upwards on the left to a group of tall trees. In the middle ground a town surrounded by a forest is depicted. In the distance, a sunlit plain with the outlines of buildings under a blue sky can be seen. Klaus Ertz wrote about the so-called “near-distant-landscape” (Nah-Fern-Landschaft): “In contrast to the 16th century “world landscape” this lively painting is related to the realm of reality. The distance between beholder and the depiction is dissolved. The artist only keeps a minimal distance by means of a slightly elevated vantage point. This is new in an exciting way in all paintings by Brueghel dated around 1605. These wide landscapes belong to the most progressive and modern compositions by Jan Brueghel the Elder.”
Two copies of this painting, of which the whereabouts was before unknown, do exist; one by Christoffel van der Berghe (Mittelrhein-Museum, Koblenz, inv. no. M8) and another by Jan Brueghel the Younger (Musée d´Orleans, inv. no. 1266). According to Klaus Ertz, the present painting can now be determined as the painting from which these copies were made. Especially if one compares this painting with other “Nah-Fern-Landschaften” by Jan Brueghel the Elder dated between 1605 and 1610, there is no doubt that it can be incorporated into the oeuvre of the artist.
Klaus Ertz will include this work as an original painting to be dated 1608 in Antwerp in his addendum of the catalogue raisonné to be published in 2010/2011.
Klaus Ertz, 1.9.2010.
Goedeckemeyer collection, Frankfurt/Main. - Private collection, Hessia (since 1963).
About comparable paintings by Jan Brueghels the Elder cf. Klaus Ertz: Jan Brueghel der Ältere (1568-1625). Kritischer Katalog der Gemälde. vol. I, Lingen 2008, p. 106-107 and 136-141, cat. no. 18, 38 and 40, illustrated.