New York, NY and London, UK (PRWEB) April 24, 2009
A highly important Old Master painting by Pieter Brueghel, The Younger, is one of the rare masterpieces that will be offered at the International Fine Art Fair, May 1-5, 2009 at the Park Avenue Armory, New York City. It will be offered for sale by Richard Green, one of the foremost paintings dealers in the world. Entitled St. George's kermis with the dance around the maypole, it is one of his most complicated, joyous and successful works. The painting is among the finest of the nine autograph versions of this composition, only three of which are signed and dated. Pieter Brueghel the Younger is particularly famous for his detailed scenes of peasant life, landscapes and religious subjects.
Brueghel presents a panorama of life in a Flemish village on a day of celebration. In the left background is the village church, embowered by trees, its spire echoing the pagan crown of the maypole and the peak of the distant mountain. In front of the church, the peeling, ochre and cream plaster of the medieval houses gives harmonious warmth to the distance. The pink Renaissance house with the stepped gable at the apex of the village street adds a touch of modernity and leads the eye deep into the landscape.
The tremendous dynamism of the picture is provided by the brightly-coloured figures which spiral down the street, dance around the maypole and tumble into the foreground, almost spinning out of the canvas. Brueghel revels in the (largely good-natured) exuberance of the St George's kermis, which fused seventeenth century Flemish secular and religious traditions. The figures are exquisitely delineated in this painting, so that each peasant is individualized as well as being caught up in the energy of the whole.
The dazzling sense of movement in the left half and right foreground of the composition is contrasted by the serene landscape background. At far right is a fortified town with a cathedral and peasant huts clustered along the shore. The river winds dreamily through a lush landscape towards a most un-Flemish mountain range. In the balmy air of spring, tiny figures are bathing. By including the world beyond the village, Brueghel emphasizes the beauty of nature touched by spring and gathers the festivities of one village into a general celebration of humanity.
Brueghel explored kermis subjects from the 1620s, becoming the most influential painter of this theme, which was also taken up by Hans Bol, Gillis Mostaert, Carel van Mander, Roelant Savery and David Vinckboons. His kermis paintings are dated between 1626 and 1634.
About Pieter Brueghel the Younger
Brussels 1564/5 - 1637/8 Antwerp
Pieter Brueghel the Younger was the son of the celebrated Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c.1525/30-1569) and elder brother of Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568-1625). Born in 1564/5 in Brussels, he was probably, like Jan, trained by his grandmother Mayken Verhulst, a miniature and watercolour painter. According to van Mander, he was also a pupil of Gillis van Coninxloo III. Brueghel was admitted to the Antwerp Guild of St Luke in 1584/5. On 5th November 1588 he married Elizabeth Godelet, with whom he had seven children.
Throughout his life Pieter II lived in financially straitened circumstances. He possessed neither his own house nor did he undertake the obligatory educational journey to Italy from which his brother Jan benefited. In 1597, he owed several months' rent. Pieter seems never to have left Antwerp. He died there in 1637/38, at the advanced age of seventy-three.
Brueghel however ran a thriving atelier and his copies and imitations of his father's most famous compositions, as well as the lively independent scenes developed later in his career, were much in demand. He was noted for detailed scenes of peasant life, landscapes and religious subjects, usually with a large number of figures. Marriage and fair scenes give an amusing interpretation of contemporary Flemish rural customs, painted for the delight of townsfolk.
The work of Pieter Brueghel the Younger is represented in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; the Hermitage, St Petersburg; the Louvre, Paris; the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
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