Support: Cream(1) laid paper
Sheet: 30.1 x 20.4 cm (11 7/8 x 8 1/16 in.)
Gift of P. & D. Colnaghi Co. 1925.1218
Catalogue raisonné: Hollstein 279 (XXI.58)
Around 1600, three decades after the death of artist Pieter Bruegel (about 1525-1569), a renewed interest in his work sparked the so-called Bruegel Renaissance. Admired for his scenes of everyday life and his realistic landscapes, he was highly praised for faithfully following nature. Appropriately, the inscription on Sadeler's print is a lengthy discussion about the imitation of nature, a matter of great interest to artists at the time. Bruegel is surrounded by Minerva and Mercury (who here personify Art and Eloquence, respectively) and a composite figure of Fortune and Fame. The cherub bearing the skull and torch at bottom is probably Thanatos, a classical symbol of death. He bows to mourn the artist, but as the still-flaming torch indicates, Bruegel's genius and fame are immortal.
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