Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Allegories & Gardens by Jan Breughel II 1601-1678 - Locus amoenus & Those confusing Breughels

1620s Jan Breughel The Younger (1601-1678)  Allegory of Spring

Allegorical stories & art are often set in gardens, frequently in walled gardens. The locus amoenus was one of the traditional locations of epic & chivalric literature. Locus amoenus (Latin for "pleasant place") is a literary term which generally refering to an idealized place of safety or comfort, usually a beautiful, shady parkland or open woods, or a group of idyllic garden areas, sometimes with connotations of Eden. A locus amoenus usually will have 3 basic elements: trees, grass, & water. Often, the garden will be in a remote place & function as a landscape of the mind. It can also be used to highlight the differences between urban & rural life or be a place of refuge from the processes of time & mortality. In some works, such gardens also have overtones of the regenerative powers of human sexuality marked out by flowers, & goddesses of springtime, love, & fertility. Ernst Robert Curtius formulated the concept's definition in his European Literature & the Latin Middle Ages (1953). 

Attributed to Jan Brueghel the Younger (Flemish, 1601-1678) and Peeter or Pieter van Avont (Flemish, 1600-1652) Landscape with Flowers

In these paintings, flowers in pots appear to have been especially popular, both indoors and out. Potted plants & trees are depicted placed on top of grassy beds in gardens & entryways--some of these may have been tender perennials or fruit trees. Plants in pots are used both outdoors or in the house (See The Italian Renaissance Interior: 1400-1600, by Peter Thornton, Abrams 1991) 

1620s Jan Breughel The Younger (1601-1678)  Allegory of Spring

About these confusing Breughels - 

Pieter Bruegel (also Brueghel) 1525-1569 was a Netherlandish Renaissance painter & printmaker known for his landscapes & peasant scenes (later called genre painting). From 1559, he dropped the 'h' from his name & signed his paintings as Bruegel.  

Pieter the Elder had 2 sons: Pieter Brueghel the Younger 1564 -1636 & Jan Brueghel the Elder 1568-1625 (both changed their name to Brueghel). Their grandmother, Mayken Verhulst, trained the sons because "the Elder" died when both were very small children. The older brother, Pieter Brueghel, copied his father's style but without the same great talent. Jan was more successful, as he turned to the Baroque style & collaborated with many fine artists.

Pieter Brueghel the Younger or Pieter Bruegel the Younger (before 1616 he signed his name as 'Brueghel' & after 1616 as 'Breughel') 1564 -1636 was a Flemish painter, known for numerous copies after his father Pieter Bruegel the Elder's work as well as his original compositions. The large output of his studio, which produced for the local & export market, contributed to the international spread of his father's imagery.

Jan Brueghel the Elder 1568-1625 was a Flemish painter, son of Pieter Bruegel the Elder & father of Jan Brueghel the Younger 1601-1678. Many of his paintings are collaborations in which figures by other painters were placed in landscapes painted by Jan Brueghel; in other works, Brueghel painted the figures into another artist's landscape or architectural interior. The most famous of his collaborators was Peter Paul Rubens who collaborated on about 25 paintings.

Jan Brueghel the Younger 1601-1678 was a Flemish Baroque painter. Jan the Younger's best works are his extensive landscapes, either under his own name or made for other artists such as Hendrick van Balen as backgrounds.  He collaborated with a number of prominent artists including Rubens, Hendrick van Balen (1575–1632), Adriaen Stalbemt (1580–1682), Lucas Van Uden (1596–1672), David Teniers the Younger, and his father-in-law Abraham Janssens. His pupils were his older sons Abraham , 1631-1690, Philips, & Jan Peeter 1628-1664, his nephew Jan van Kessel, & his younger brother Ambrosius.