Monday, 25 October 2010

Bruegel - The wine of the feast of St Martin

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Wine of the Feast of St Martin
Museo del Prado, Madrid
The painting above, hitherto believed to have been painted by a follower of Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525-1569), has just been definitively attributed to the master himself, following the discovery of his signature during restoration work on the painting at the Prado Museum in Madrid. The Spanish Ministry of Culture simultaneously announced that it has been purchased for the nation for 7 million Euros.

The Wine of the Feast of St Martin, previously in the private collection of the Duke of Medinaceli in Spain, depicts a crowd scrambling madly to get a sample of the year's first vintage from a wine-barrel, and is now believed to have been painted between 1565 and 1568, making it a work of the master's mature years. This complex and ambitious canvas brings the total number of fully authenticated works by Bruegel the Elder to 41. It will now hang in the Prado alongside the museum's only other Bruegel painting, The Triumph of Death.
Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Triumph of Death
Museo del Prado, Madrid

During restoration work carried out on the painting by Elisa Mora, art specialists, including the Deputy Director of the Prado, Gabriele Finaldi, began to study the canvas and discovered the master's signature. The restoration is ongoing. In this video report from El Mundo (in Spanish), Finaldi and Mora discuss the process and the attribution of the work. Note the remarkable difference between the restored and the untouched sections:-

El Mundo: Bruegel and the unsuspected treasure

Meanwhile, a campaign has been launched to keep in Britain a masterpiece by Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1565-1636). The Procession to Calvary is the star attraction at Nostell Priory, a country estate in Wakefield, West Yorkshire owned by the National Trust, where it has hung for over 200 years. Its owner, Lord St Oswald, is selling the work to fund restoration of the estate. If the required £2.7 million is not raised by Christmas, the painting will go to auction and will likely be sold to a foreign buyer.
Pieter Brueghel the Younger, The Procession to Calvary
Nostell Priory, Wakefield
The canvas, painted in 1602, depicts Christ's procession to the crucifixion and is one of five versions in a series. The Nostell painting is the second in the series and is the only one in Britain. The National Trust have set up a dedicated website to accept donations, where you can also explore the painting in detail.

Report from the Daily Telegraph: 2.7m appeal to safeguard Brueghel masterpiece

Pieter Bruegel the Elder at Web Galley of Art
Pieter Brueghel the Younger at Web Gallery of Art

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