'Essays in Context': all results of the investigations into Bruegel’s drawings and paintings collected in a special anniversary edition
Bruegel. The Hand of the Master
was the first ever exhibition to unite paintings, drawings and prints by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. It was the result of six years of research that also involved input from numerous experts in the fields of art history, conservation and science.
The curatorial team – Elke Oberthaler, Sabine Pénot, Manfred Sellink and Ron Spronk, with Alice Hoppe-Harnoncourt – invited these experts to present findings from their own research at the 2018 symposium The Hand of the Master: Materials and Techniques of Pieter Bruegel the Elder. All the papers presented at the symposium are collected in this publication, Essays in Context, a special 450th anniversary edition in commemoration of the death of Pieter Bruegel the Elder in 1569.
The focus is on insights derived from the artworks themselves. The results of the investigations into Bruegel’s drawings and paintings using modern imaging techniques, the natural sciences and dendrochronology, as well as the observations by the paintings’ restorers, provide brand-new information. The analysis of Bruegel’s compositions and what he actually depicted (objects, clothes, gestures) is seen within the wider context of the life and times of the artist and his patrons. Rounded up by the latest research into Bruegel’s life, the historical art market and previous attitudes to his oeuvre, the entire volume is intended to offer new directions for future study.
Five essays by the curators, initially only available in the e-book version of the 2018 exhibition catalogue, are included too.
Bruegel’s inventions and stories create artworks with a timeless power, and this volume, containing 24 essays and more than 500 illustrations, provides a comprehensive survey of the artist’s oeuvre and will be an indispensable resource for Bruegel fans and scholars alike.