University of Cambridge Museums

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Brueghel and his Time

Landscape drawings from the Bruce Ingram bequest
Until 4 September 2016, Fitzwilliam Museum

Jan Brueghel the Elder, A village in the mountains © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Jan Brueghel the Elder, A village in the mountains © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Many of the greatest works of art at the Fitzwilliam Museum were given as gifts. To celebrate the Museum’s bicentenary a selection of 35 of the finest drawings from the Ingram Collection will be displayed.

The exhibition includes over thirty rarely seen early landscape drawings, all of which form part of the bequest of Sir Bruce Ingram (1877-1963), one of the most significant British collectors of the twentieth century. Editor of The Illustrated London News and Honorary Keeper of Drawings at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Ingram bequeathed over one thousand European drawings of mostly Dutch and Flemish landscapes and seascapes on his death in 1963. The works selected for this show range from the Netherlands’ lowlands to the craggy mountains of a fantasy world.

‘The bequest of Sir Bruce Ingram provides endless opportunity for research and exhibitions. Although the fragility of drawings means they cannot be on display often we are thrilled to show these seminal drawings throughout the summer’
Henrietta Ward, Assistant Keeper of Paintings, Prints and Drawings, Fitzwilliam Museum

Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568-1625) was a member of the famous Brueghel dynasty of painters active in the Spanish Netherlands, now Belgium. Jan’s father Pieter Bruegel the Elder was a pivotal figure in the development of landscape painting. He inspired his contemporaries to view the natural world around them as an independent subject and not just a setting for historical or religious narratives. High viewpoints and mountainous terrain came to characterise the work of Flemish artists such as Brueghel, Paul Bril and Joos de Momper.

From 1568 the mainly Protestant provinces in the north fought against Catholic Spanish rule. The war eventually ended in 1648 when the north became recognised as the independent Dutch Republic. During these decades of turmoil many Protestant artists in the south fled north in fear of religious persecution, taking the new subject of landscape painting with them. This in turn encouraged Dutch artists including Abraham Bloemaert, Esaias van de Velde and Jan van Goyen to sketch the country’s lowlands, sand dunes, inland waterways and rustic cottages from life, with a newfound pride and focus.

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This entry was posted on July 5, 2016 by in Culture, Goal 1, Goal 2, News and tagged , , .
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