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Jan Brueghel the Elder | Baroque painter

Biography from: The National Gallery, London

Jan Brueghel the Elder was born in Brussels in 1568, the son of Pieter Brueghel the Elder.
He is said to have been taught in Antwerp by Pieter Goetkint and to have visited Cologne.
From 1589-1596 he worked in Italy, mainly in Naples, Rome, and Milan where he met one of his most important patrons, Cardinal Federico Borromeo, who remained a lifelong friend.

Peter Paul Rubens | The Family of Jan Brueghel the Elder, 1613

In 1596, Brueghel was back in Antwerp, where he became a Master in the Guild of St. Luke in 1597.
After a short stay in Prague in 1604 at the court of Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, Brueghel served as court painter to the Archduke Albert of Austria and the Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia of Spain in Brussels from 1606.

He was a painter of landscape and figures (on a small scale) and flowers.
He worked in collaboration with other artists, including Rubens, who painted the portrait of Brueghel’s family in 1613–5 (The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London).

Biography from: The National Gallery, Washington, D.C

Jan Brueghel, also known as "Velvet" Brueghel because of the delicacy of his brushwork, was an artist of remarkable versatility.
He is justly renowned for his atmospheric landscapes and riverscapes, which come alive through the careful yet fluid strokes of his brush and the activities of the figures who populate his scenes.

However, he also painted flower bouquets, many of which include depictions of precious objects, as well as mythological, allegorical, and historical subjects and evocative scenes of hell.
His refined and delicate images, often painted on copper, were highly valued by kings and princes throughout Europe.

Brueghel, who was the second son of Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525-1569), apparently received his early training in Brussels from his maternal grandmother, Mayken Verhulst.

In 1590, when he was twenty-one, he traveled to Naples and subsequently resided in Rome from 1592-1594, working under the patronage of Cardinal Ascanio Colonna.
There he met Paulus Bril (1554-1626), an artist from Antwerp working in Rome, whose brightly colored and delicately rendered small-scale paintings on copper greatly influenced his work.

In Milan Brueghel met his lifelong patron, Cardinal Federigo Borromeo (1568-1631), who considered Brueghel's works "the lightness of nature itself".
Brueghel's correspondence with Borromeo has revealed much information about the artist's working procedures and his desire to demonstrate God's greatness through pictorial representations of nature.

In 1597, shortly after returning to Antwerp, Jan joined Saint Luke's Guild and quickly established himself as an important member of the artistic community, serving as its dean in 1602.

In 1599 he married Isabella de Jode, daughter of the engraver Gerard de Jode (1509-1591), with whom he had two children, Jan Brueghel the Younger (1601-1678) and a daughter, Paschasia (b. 1603).
Isabella died shortly after Paschasia's birth, leaving Brueghel a widower with two small children.

In 1604, after purchasing a large house on the Lange Nieuwstraat in Antwerp, the artist left for Prague, where he visited the court of Emperor Rudolf II.
The following year he returned to Antwerp, where he married Katharina van Marienburg (d. 1627), with whom he had eight children.

In 1606 Brueghel became court painter to Archduke Albert and Archduchess Isabella, the regents in the southern Netherlands, an honor he retained for the rest of his life.
The archduke gave Brueghel certain privileges, such as allowing him to live in Antwerp and granting him an exemption from duty in the civic guard.
In 1613 he traveled to Holland with Peter Paul Rubens and Hendrik van Balen (1575-1632), where, in Haarlem, they were received by Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617).

Brueghel often collaborated with other artists, including Rubens.
In their collaborative works Rubens painted the large-scale religious or allegorical figures and Brueghel provided the setting, including landscape, animals, flowers, and other still-life elements.
Brueghel also painted figures in large landscapes by Joos de Momper (1564-1635).

Brueghel's first son, Jan, studied with his father and eventually ran a large workshop creating paintings in his father's style.
Brueghel also taught Daniel Seghers (1590-1661).
Brueghel's daughter, Paschasia, married the painter Jan van Kessel, who studied with his brother-in-law.

Brueghel died of cholera in Antwerp in January 1625.

Biography from: British Wikipedia

Jan Brueghel (also Bruegel or Breughel) the Elder (1568-1625) was a Flemish painter and draughtsman.
He was the son of the eminent Flemish Renaissance painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

A close friend and frequent collaborator with Peter Paul Rubens, the two artists were the leading Flemish painters in the first three decades of the 17th century.

Brueghel worked in many genres including history paintings, flower still lifes, allegorical and mythological scenes, landscapes and seascapes, hunting pieces, village scenes, battle scenes and scenes of hellfire and the underworld.

He was an important innovator who invented new types of paintings such as flower garland paintings, paradise landscapes, and gallery paintings in the first quarter of the 17th century.

He further created genre paintings that were imitations, pastiches and reworkings of his father's works, in particular his father's genre scenes and landscapes with peasants.

Brueghel represented the type of the pictor doctus, the erudite painter whose works are informed by the religious motifs and aspirations of the Catholic Counter-Reformation as well as the scientific revolution with its interest in accurate description and classification.
He was court painter of the Archduke and Duchess Albrecht and Isabella, the governors of the Habsburg Netherlands.

The artist was nicknamed "Velvet" Brueghel, "Flower" Brueghel, and "Paradise" Brueghel.
The first is believed to have been given him because of his mastery in the rendering of fabrics.
The second nickname is a reference to his fame as a painter of (although not a specialist in) flower pieces and the last one to his invention of the genre of the paradise landscape.

His brother Pieter Brueghel the Younger was traditionally nicknamed "de helse Brueghel" or "Hell Brueghel" because it was believed he was the author of a number of paintings with fantastic depictions of fire and grotesque imagery.
These paintings have now been reattributed to Jan Brueghel the Elder.

Sir Anthony van Dyck | Portrait of Jan Brueghel the Elder

Jan Brueghel il Vecchio, detto in Italia anche Bruegel dei Velluti (Bruxelles, 1568 - Anversa, 12 gennaio 1625), è stato un pittore Fiammingo.
Membro di una numerosa famiglia di pittori, figlio di Pieter Bruegel il Vecchio, fratello minore di Pieter Bruegel il Giovane e padre di Jan Brueghel il Giovane, meritò i soprannomi di Brueghel dei velluti, dei fiori e del paradiso in ragione dei suoi soggetti preferiti (per gli ultimi due) e a causa dei toni vellutati dei suoi colori, o forse della sua predilezione per gli abiti in velluto (per il primo).
Autore prolifico di nature morte (spesso costituite di fiori) e di paesaggi, si allontanò dallo stile paterno più di quanto non abbia fatto il fratello Pieter il Giovane.

I suoi primi dipinti sono spesso paesaggi che ritraggono scene delle Sacre Scritture, in particolare le scene di foreste che rivelano l'influenza di Gillis van Coninxloo, vero maestro nella pittura dei paesaggi boschivi. Nelle opere più tarde passò prima alla pittura di paesaggi puri e di ambientazioni urbane, quindi - verso il termine della sua vita - alle nature morte.
Molte delle sue opere sono state realizzate in collaborazione con altri pittori; spesso le figure umane dipinte da altri artisti sono state integrate nei paesaggi dipinti da Jan Brueghel.

Il più famoso dei suoi collaboratori fu Pieter Paul Rubens, ad esempio per il Peccato originale.
Jan Brueghel il Vecchio soggiornò a lungo in Italia (1592-1596) ed in particolare a Milano, dove strinse rapporti con il cardinale Federico Borromeo che fu prima suo protettore e quindi del figlio Jan il Giovane, e raccolse diverse sue opere, considerandolo quasi un contraltare più 'decoroso' del naturalismo di Caravaggio, di cui possedeva la celebre Canestra di frutta.

Rientrato in patria, Jan Brueghel nel 1625 morì di colera ad Anversa, dove aveva il suo studio dal 1596. | Fonte: © Wikipedia