Important painting, oil on oak panel, depicting Madonna with Child and St John the Baptist in a green landscape, attributed to Jan Brueghel the Elder and Jacob de Backer for the figures.
In the heart of a lush wooded landscape, the Virgin with Jesus rests in a clearing accompanied by Saint John the Baptist.
Spring flowers (tulips, daffodils, lilies of the valley and etc.) grow in abundance around them and enrich the composition with their shimmering colours.
A lush rosebush blooms behind the figures forming a natural hedge and offers delicate roses.
To the right of the figures, a luminous opening displaying a stream with a few houses and a small boat hidden by the mist.
In the heavens, two putti flutter, laden with huge bunches of grapes.
Also on the right, the tortuous trees are wrapped in vine ivy with abundant bunches of grapes.
The profusion of flowers, fruits and vegetation creates a poetic setting full of sweetness and tenderness.
The Virgin is seated, wearing a beautiful pink silk dress, a mainsail on her head, and a gray blue cloak. Head slightly tilted, eyes modestly lowered. She tenderly holds the arms of her son, standing leaning against his legs.
Saint John the Baptist seated astride a stone, wrapped in a red cloth, points with his finger at Madonna.
Whether for the figures or for the landscape, the great mastery of the two painters is manifested by the delicacy of the drawing enhanced by the delicacy in the pose of the brushstrokes bringing a multitude of details. The drapes of the figures are carefully modeled with finely painted white crests.
The beauty of our work associated with the finesse and precision of its execution makes it a magnificent example of the know-how, the versatility and the richness of the imagination of the artists of the Antwerp school in early 17th century.
Attributed for the landscape to Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568 Brussels - 1625 Antwerp)
Attributed for the figures to Jacob de Backer ((1540/45 Antwerp - circa 1600)
Dimensions: oak panel: h. 49 cm, l. 66 cm
Tortoiseshell veneered frame in baroque style.
Dimensions with frame: h. 67 cm, l. 84 cm
Our work, the result of a collaboration between two painters, is one of the classic examples of the great creativity of the Antwerp workshops of the early 17th century. Anxious to excel in each genre, the artists combine their talents in order to satisfy a demanding clientele.
Jan Brueghel the Elder and his studio frequently collaborated with figure painters to bring his magnificent landscapes (his favorite field) to life.
The figures in our work are directly inspired by a composition by Jacob de Backer in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
One example of the collaboration between J. Brueghel the Elder and J. de Backer is the painting "Diana and Actaeon", circa 1600, in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA. This work has many similarities with our painting that it is for the landscape and the figures, we find the shining white pulpits of the figures, the elongated faces, the staging in a darkened undergrowth with reduced openings, giving the impression of a nocturnal landscape, the palette dominated by browns and greens, yellow ochres in the foreground, the presence of the grasshopper, butterfly, bird partially hidden in the vegetation.
Jan Brueghel the Elder
(Jan Brueghel the Elder or Jan Bruegel the Old), known as Brueghel de Velours, is a Flemish Baroque painter born in 1568 in Brussels and died on January 13, 1625 in Antwerp.
Second and youngest son of Pieter Brueghel the Elder, he is the younger brother of Pieter Brueghel the Younger.
We owe him many paintings of flowers, a genre in which he excelled, as well as biblical compositions, allegories, mythological scenes and landscapes. he collaborates on numerous paintings with Pierre-Paul Rubens who was one of his friends, Hendrick van Balen, Hans Rottenhammer, Frans Snyders, Joos de Momper, Frans II Francken and Sébastien Vrancx.
Jacob de Backer
Flemish painter of the sixteenth century. He was born in Antwerp around 1545 and died in the same city in 1585.
He trained in Florence and Rome between 1557 and 1560, where his very Italianate style comes from. He also seems very influenced by the School of Fontainebleau. He would have been a pupil of Antonio Palermo then of Hendrik van Steenwijk I.