Pieter Bruegel the Elder


Artist Biography:

Pieter Bruegel the Elder was considered the greatest artist of Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting of the 16th century.  Bruegel's birth date and place are unknown, but it is assumed that he was born between 1525 and 1530, in the Netherlands. Pieter was part of a large and important Netherlandish family of artists. Bruegel was accepted as a master in the Antwerp painters’ guild in 1551, he was taught by a leading Antwerp artist, Coecke van Aelst. Around this time, Bruegel travelled around Italy where he painted lots of landscapes.   Returning home in 1553, he settled in Antwerp for 10 years before permanently returning to Brussels. A number of Bruegel paintings focused on the lives of Flemish commoners, which gave him the nickname ‘peasant Bruegel’. He would attend social gatherings and events to mingle and interact with the locals and to gain inspiration for his paintings. In 1563, Bruegel married his teacher van Aelst’s daughter, Mayken. Bruegel fathered two other prominent flemish artists, Pieter Brueghel the young and Jan Brueghel the Elder, although Bruegel passed away when his children were young in 1569 so they therefore were not taught by him.

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