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Jan Brueghel the Younger

The leaving of the stagecoach

Copper: 23,5 x 31 cm

introduction

Village scenes animated with numerous characters are one of Jan Brueghel the Younger’s favourite themes. They are a continuation of the artistic innovations begun by his father, Jan Brueghel the Elder, to renew this type of landscape. As such, our copper is a fine example of the artist’s talent. It wonderfully conveys all the effervescence that must have reigned in these highly colourful country post houses and inns at the beginning of the 17th century.

Transporting the viewer in time and space, this panel, which is directly inspired by a drawing by Jan Brueghel the Elder, benefits from a skilful and harmonious palette of colours, worthy of the artist’s best works. The drawing by Jan ‘Velvet’ Brueghel, currently kept in the collections of the Leipzig museum, is clearly at the source of this work as proven by the similarity of the composition and the details that enrich each of the characters. The hedge of trees and the distinctive row of houses, which are arranged according to a traditional layout, are often used by the father and reinterpreted by the son in this type of country landscape.

On the right-hand side, a peasant is returning with his flock, while in the distance, a sort of coach filled with exhausted travellers is arriving. The first plane is occupied by a carriage which has stopped. The bright colours of the clothes of the driver and the band of travelling city dwellers surrounding the coach draw our attention. The strength of the tones is an essential element in Brueghel’s rural landscapes, which are kept in the greatest museums in the world. The details of the characters are rigorously rendered and enhanced by sparkling colours. The buildings, which take on an ochre hue under the last rays of sunshine, as well as the rich, vibrant colours of the sky, indicate that the scene is taking place at the end of the day, adding to the poetry of the composition.

Through the delicacy of its execution and its variety of colours that enliven the whole, Jan Brueghel the Younger accurately captures a moment of gentle tranquillity in the life of a Flemish hamlet. Time is suspended in this delightful panel, nostalgically plunging the viewer into the heart of the Antwerp countryside so dear to this great family of artists, the Brueghels.

Provenance :
Private collection