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Jan Brueghel the Younger

Flight into Egypt

Copper: 25,7 x 21,5 cm

introduction

This magnificently constructed ‘Flight into Egypt’ provides us with resounding proof that Jan Brueghel the Younger was well and truly part of this great line of descendents.

Here, the biblical episode of the Flight into Egypt taken from the New Testament is transposed into a rustic, naturalistic landscape beneath a high sky where several swallows are flying around, perhaps announcing the arrival of spring. In the foreground, Mary is riding on a donkey holding the Infant Jesus in her arms, making her way through the countryside with Joseph, while walkers turn into the woods as though indifferent to the gravity of the scene taking place below. The atmosphere is calm and serene, barely overshadowed by the vivid foliage of the trees with their knotted trunks and dense leaves.

The construction of the space is based on an alternation of verticals and an alternation of areas of light, shade or halftones, and every now and then contrasts, supported by a delicate and sensitive style of drawing. The colourist technique of Brueghel is gentle and meticulous; he has a perfect understanding of complementary colours and his rhythm free and flowing. His precise technique and the extreme finesse of his execution are worthy of Jan ‘Velvet’ Brueghel. While he may not have exceeded his father, he succeeds in expressing a natural charm, reconciling the taste for colourful and attractive details with the subtlety of a miniaturist, as well as an applied and analytical technique. He uses his own particular delicate and stylised style of drawing, whose meticulousness is enhanced by an extraordinary colour technique. While he hasn’t forgotten the traditional alternation of brown/green/blue planes, he has punctuated it with dazzling highlights of colour, such as the bright red patch formed by Joseph’s clothing.

All these elements are enough for the painter to fill this delightful little copper with the atmosphere of a peaceful life, full of gentleness and meditation, so characteristic of the landscapes that ensured his success and recognition throughout his fruitful career.

Provenance :
Private collection.
Valuer’s report by Mr Klaus Ertz.