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Pieter Bruegel (also Brueghel) the Elder was a Netherlandish Renaissance painter and printmaker from Brabant, known for his landscapes and peasant scenes (so called genre painting). He is sometimes referred to as the "Peasant Bruegel". From 1559, he dropped the 'h' from his name and signed his paintings as Bruegel.

Two early sources for Bruegel's biography are Lodovico Guicciardini's account of the Low Countries and Karel van Mander's 1604 Schilder-boeck. Guicciardini recorded that Bruegel was born in Breda, but van Mander specified Bruegel was born in a "village near Breda", i.e. the (now Dutch) town of Breugel. From the fact that Bruegel entered the Antwerp painters' guild in 1551, it is inferred that he was born between 1525 and 1530. His master, according to van Mander, was the Antwerp painter Pieter Coecke van Aelst, whose daughter Maria (called 'Mayken') Bruegel married in 1563. So he was between 1545 and 1550 a pupil of Pieter Coecke. Pieter Coecke died on 6 December 1550. In 1551 Bruegel became a free master in the Guild of Saint Luke of Antwerp. In 1552 Bruegel was assigned to paint the rear of two wings of a triptych in Mechelen; the middle panel was painted by Pieter Balten. Bruegel got this work probably via the connections of Mayken Verhulst, the widow of Pieter Coecke. Mayken's father and eight siblings were all artists or married an artist and lived in Mechelen . Between 1552 and 1553 Bruegel traveled to Italy, probably by way of France. He visited Rome, where he met the miniaturist Giulio Clovio, whose will of 1578 lists three paintings by Bruegel. These works, apparently landscapes, have not survived. About 1555 Bruegel returned to Antwerp by way of the Alps, which resulted in a number of exquisite drawings of mountain landscapes. These sketches, which form the basis for many of his later paintings, are not records of actual places but "composites" made in order to investigate the organic life of forms in nature.

He received the nickname "Peasant Bruegel" or "Bruegel the Peasant" for his practice of dressing up like a peasant in order to socialize at weddings and other celebrations, thereby gaining inspiration and authentic details for his genre paintings. He died in Brussels on 9 September 1569 and was buried in the Kapellekerk.
 
 
Pieter Bruegel (also Brueghel) the Elder was a Netherlandish Renaissance painter and printmaker from Brabant, known for his landscapes and peasant scenes (so called genre painting). He is sometimes referred to as the "Peasant Bruegel". From 1559, he dropped the 'h' from his name and signed his paintings as Bruegel.

Two early sources for Bruegel's biography are Lodovico Guicciardini's account of the Low Countries and Karel van Mander's 1604 Schilder-boeck. Guicciardini recorded that Bruegel was born in Breda, but van Mander specified Bruegel was born in a "village near Breda", i.e. the (now Dutch) town of Breugel. From the fact that Bruegel entered the Antwerp painters' guild in 1551, it is inferred that he was born between 1525 and 1530. His master, according to van Mander, was the Antwerp painter Pieter Coecke van Aelst, whose daughter Maria (called 'Mayken') Bruegel married in 1563. So he was between 1545 and 1550 a pupil of Pieter Coecke. Pieter Coecke died on 6 December 1550. In 1551 Bruegel became a free master in the Guild of Saint Luke of Antwerp. In 1552 Bruegel was assigned to paint the rear of two wings of a triptych in Mechelen; the middle panel was painted by Pieter Balten. Bruegel got this work probably via the connections of Mayken Verhulst, the widow of Pieter Coecke. Mayken's father and eight siblings were all artists or married an artist and lived in Mechelen . Between 1552 and 1553 Bruegel traveled to Italy, probably by way of France. He visited Rome, where he met the miniaturist Giulio Clovio, whose will of 1578 lists three paintings by Bruegel. These works, apparently landscapes, have not survived. About 1555 Bruegel returned to Antwerp by way of the Alps, which resulted in a number of exquisite drawings of mountain landscapes. These sketches, which form the basis for many of his later paintings, are not records of actual places but "composites" made in order to investigate the organic life of forms in nature.

He received the nickname "Peasant Bruegel" or "Bruegel the Peasant" for his practice of dressing up like a peasant in order to socialize at weddings and other celebrations, thereby gaining inspiration and authentic details for his genre paintings. He died in Brussels on 9 September 1569 and was buried in the Kapellekerk. More...

 
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