Brueghel the Elder, Pieter, Faith from The World of Seven Virtues, c.1559
Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Engraving, Faith from The World of Seven Virtues, c.1559
|Artist:||Brueghel the Elder, Pieter (1525 - 1569)|
|Title:||Faith from The World of Seven Virtues, c.1559|
|Image Size:||11 1/2 in x 8 3/4 in (29.21 cm x 22.23 cm)|
|Sheet Size:||12 1/2 in x 9 3/4 in (31.75 cm x 24.77 cm)|
|Framed Size:||28 1/4 in x 25 1/2 in (71.76 cm x 64.77 cm)|
|Signed:||Bruegels (Breda, 1525 - Brussels, 1569) signature is inscribed in the lower right.|
|Edition:||Engraved by Philips Galle after an original drawing by Bruegel.|
|Condition:||This work is in excellent condition.|
Taken from Bruegels (Breda, 1525 - Brussels, 1569) series of "The World of Seven Virtues," the church-going scene in Faith is a slightly satirical take on those worshippers who, during Bruegels time, sought to make direct connections with God without interference from the church. It is a crowded, almost energetic scene with a series of vignettes scattered throughout the composition. Central to the work, Faith is portrayed as a nun surrounded by imagery of Christ and the Crucifixion.
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According to H. Arthur Klein:
Faith, garbed like a nun, stands on the lid of the open tomb which contained the body of Jesus. All around her are the objects named in the Gospel story of the crucifixion of Jesus. On her head are the tablets of the Law of Moses, indicative of the Old Testament. In her hands she holds, and points to a passage in, a volume of the New…The immediacy of the dramatic story symbolized here suggests a different and more basic kind of Faith than the formal observances in the church environment elsewhere in the print. (120)
Created c. 1559, Faith was engraved by Philips Galle, based on an original drawing by Bruegel (Breda, 1525 - Brussels, 1569) featuring the following inscription in the lower margin: FIDES MAXIMÈ Á NOBIS CONSERVANDA EST PRAECIPVE IN RELIGIONEM, | QVIA DEVS PRIOR ET POTENTIOR EST QVAN HOMO. (Above all we must keep faith, particularly in respect to religion, for God comes before all, and is mightier than man) . The signature of Bruegel (Breda, 1525 - Brussels, 1569) is inscribed in cartouche in the lower right: 'Bruegel Inu' with FIDES (Faith) in the lower center, with 'Cock exc' in the lower left.
Catalogue Raisonné & COA:
1. Bastelaer, René van. The Prints of Peter Bruegel the Elder, Catalogue Raisonné New Edition, Alan Wofsy Fine Arts: San Francisco, 1992. Listed and illustrated as catalogue raisonné no. 132 on pgs. 174-5.
2. Klein, H. Arthur. Graphic Worlds of Peter Bruegel the Elder, Dover Publications: New York, 1963. Listed and illustrated as catalogue raisonné no. 48 on pgs. 219-221.
3. Orenstein, Nadine M., ed. for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Drawings and Prints, Yale University Press: New Haven, 2001. Listed and illustrated as catalogue raisonné no. 62.
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Biography of Pieter Brueghel the Elder
Pieter Brueghel (1525-69), usually known as Pieter Brueghel the Elder to distinguish him from his elder son, was the first in a family of Flemish painters. You'll often find his name spelled as Bruegel (Pieter spelled it like that from 1559 onwards) or Breugel or Breughel.
He was born in Breda in the Duchy of Brabant, which is now part of The Netherlands but back then part of the Flanders.
Note: Flanders or Vlaanderen and the Netherlands (aka known as Holland) or Nederland share the same language. It's called Flemish, or "Vlaams" in Belgium and Dutch, or "Nederlands" in The Netherlands. And the name Holland, although it's often taken to mean the whole of the Netherlands, is really part of that country only, the area of the provinces called Zuid Holland and Noord Holland (South and North Holland).
Brueghel was accepted as a master in the Antwerp painters' guild in 1551, after being an apprentice of Coecke van Aelst, a leading Antwerp artist, sculptor, architect, and designer of tapestry and stained glass. Brueghel traveled to Italy in 1551 or 1552, completing a number of paintings, mostly landscapes, there. Returning home in 1553, he settled in Antwerp but ten years later moved permanently to Brussels. He married van Aelst's daughter, Mayken, in 1563. His paintings, including his landscapes and scenes of peasant life, stress the absurd and vulgar, yet are full of zest and fine detail. They also expose human weaknesses and follies. He was sometimes called the Peasant Brueghel. But it was in nature that he found his greatest inspiration. His mountain landscapes have few parallels in European art. Popular in his own day, Bruegel prints have remained consistently popular. Pieter Brueghel the Elder died in Brussels on Sept. 9, 1569.