Pieter Bruegel the elder, also known as "Peasant" (niderle. Pieter Bruegel de Oude, IPA: [ˈpitər ˈbrø:ɣəl]; OK. 1525−1569) — Flemish painter and engraver, the most famous and important of which bore this name artists. Master of landscape and genre scenes. Father artists Pieter Brueghel the Younger (Hell) and Jan Brueghel the Elder (Paradise).
Pieter Brueghel the supposedly born between 1525 and 1530, (exact date unknown). As the versions concerning the place of his birth is called the city of Breda in the province of Brabant, as well as village Bregel about this city.
The original name of the artist was written Brueghel, and as it was written in his children; but with 1559 he started signing his paintings of Bruegel.
His creative biography he started as a graph. By the middle of the 1540's. he was in Antwerp, where he trained in the workshop of Peter cook van Aalst, the court artist of Emperor Charles V.
In the Studio van Aalst Bruegel worked until the death of his teacher in 1550 1551, Bruegel was adopted in the Antwerp Guild of painters and joined in the Studio to Hieronymus Cock, print and sell prints. In the workshop Coca artist saw the prints of paintings by Hieronymus Bosch, which made such an impression on him that he draws their own variation on the theme of the great artist.
In 1552−1553 years on the proposal of Coca Bruegel makes travel to France, Italy, Switzerland, to make a series of drawings of the Italian landscapes intended for reproduction in prints. Shocked by the ancient monuments of Rome and masterpieces of Renaissance, Maritime elements and picturesque harbours in the Mediterranean. I believe that in Rome he worked with miniaturist Giulio Clove.
In 1553 Bruegel married the daughter of his teacher van Aalst, Mary (Makin).
In 1556, Bruegel working in Antwerp for print workshop of "Four winds"belonging to a Dutch publisher Hieronymus Cock. According to the drawings of Bruegel here were made engravings Big fish eat small and Ass at school. Wanting to please the tastes of rich customers, Kok even did not hesitate to forge a signature on the prints. So engraving Big fish eat small was sold with the signature of the famous Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch.
In 1557 Bruegel paints a cycle of seven prints with the Mortal sins.
In 1563 moved with his family in Brussels.
We can learn much about the artist, answering the question why he did not write. As far as we know, Bruegel did not write custom portraits and the Nude figures. From portraits attributed to Bruegel, only one undoubtedly belongs to him. This is a picture of a Head of a peasant woman 1564. Probably the artist had no shortage of requests to write portraits of his contemporaries, but apparently, Bruegel such orders are not accepted. In 1565 were written a series of Paintings months or seasons, which survived only five works. In late medieval illuminated prayer books for the nobility religious texts are often preceded the calendar, where every month had on the page. The change of seasons was portrayed more often through the prism of classes corresponding to each month. But Brueghel in the change of seasons is the main role of nature and people, as well as forests, mountains, water, animals, become part of a vast landscape. The return of cattle. Autumn, the Hunters in the snow. Winter, and Haymaking — same size, and possibly done for one customer. The other two — the Harvest. Summer and Gloomy day. Spring. Van Mander calls the customer throughout the series "Months" a wealthy diamond merchant Nicholas Iongelinck, then, is urgently in need of a large sum of money, gave all these pictures in pledge, and then never bought them.
Not to be confused Pieter Bruegel with his son, also a painter, Senior later dubbed the Peasant Bruegel.
More than thirty of about forty-five paintings by Bruegel (or attributed to him) is devoted to the image of nature, the village and its residents. Faceless representatives of the rural masses become main heroes of his works: in his drawings, he often hides the face. None of the artists previously dared to create works on these topics. But many later work showed growing interest of the artist to the individual figures. The artist begins to write major figures of people, in relation to which the environment is already a subordinate role. These paintings are Falling blind, Fowler and a transgressor of the nests, Cripples and Misanthrope.
Pieter Bruegel was about forty, when the Spanish army of the Duke of Alba, with orders to destroy the heretics in the Netherlands came to Brussels. During the following years Alba was sentenced to death several thousands of Dutch. The last years of his life passed in an atmosphere of terror spread by Alba. One of the last works by Bruegel, a Magpie on the gallows, Karel van Mander says that he bequeathed to his wife picture with the magpie on the gallows. Forty means gossip, which he would like to see a hung". Hangin was associated with Spanish rule, when the authorities began to put to a shameful death by hanging of predikant, and the terror Alba held almost exclusively on rumors and denunciations. Painting "massacre of the innocents" contains an image of a sinister man in black, overseeing the execution of the order of king Herod; this man is very similar to Alba; hence, king Philip II artist compares with Herod. Van Mander also reports on the latest picture Bruegel "the Triumph of truth", which he calls the best in creativity of the artist. Before us is not reached, moreover, van Mander coexist truth and fiction.
The artist died on 5 September 1569 in Brussels. Buried in Brussels Church of the virgin in the chapel (Notre-Dame-de-La-Shepel).
Of all the surviving works by Bruegel about a third are in the Museum of art history in Vienna. In the museums of Russia works by Bruegel missing.