Male friendship of great artists: what united Rubens and Bruegel the Elder
Male friendship of great artists: what united Rubens and Bruegel the Elder
Peter Paul Rubens, Jan Bruegel Senior fragment of the painting “Return from the War. Venus disarms Mars "

Envy and rivalry did not affect the union of the most eminent masters of the 17th century Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder… Support, raising children, creating masterpieces of painting - formula of male friendship.

Jan Brueghel the Elder, portrait by Rubens (fragment of the artist's family portrait); Peter Paul Rubens, self-portrait

For 25 years, from 1598 to 1625, Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder co-authored more than two dozen works. These masters had a lot in common, but in painting they experienced and embodied the world in completely different ways. Bruegel was nicknamed "velvet" for his graceful and delicate style. Rubens, a sweeping and energetic improviser, a virtuoso of large-scale historical compositions, was known as a "fast" artist. When combined, their differences complemented each other perfectly.

Peter Paul Rubens, Jan Brueghel the Elder "The Garden of Eden with the Fall"

At that time, the joint work of artists was not something exceptional. But, as a rule, one master was considered "older", higher than the other. In this alliance, both artists were equal in size. The Garden of Eden with the Fall is the only painting signed by both: in the lower left corner - PETRI PAVLI RVBENS FIGR, in the lower right - IBRVEGHEL FEC.

"Battle of the Amazons" - the earliest known joint work of Rubens and Brueghel

Today it seems that among the two artists, Rubens is the most famous and skillful. But when they first met, doing their first joint job, The Battle of the Amazons (1598 - 1600), Rubens had just arrived in Antwerp. By this time, Bruegel's name had become widely known. True, the dynasty was glorified by his father - Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Then their friendship was born. Rubens will become the godfather of Bruegel's two children. He will write letters on behalf of Bruegel to his patron Cardinal Federico in Milan, for which Bruegel jokingly called Rubens “my secretary”.

Peter Paul Rubens, Jan Brueghel the Elder Return from the War. Venus disarms Mars "

Painting “Return from the War. Venus Disarms Mars”, in which the contribution of artists to the artistic whole was determined: Rubens paints figures, Bruegel - the background.

Peter Paul Rubens, Jan Brueghel the Elder "Pan and Sirenga"

The painting "Pan and Sirenga" is a small-sized work of masters, in which the figures also belong to Rubens, and the von to Bruegel, which does not mean that the latter's work is secondary. In addition to the highly artistic performance, the background plays a colossal semantic role in the plot of the picture. Art critics emphasized that the emergence of the reed beyond the borders of the picture and the display of figures from below prompted the viewer that the nymph would not be able to escape.

Peter Paul Rubens, Jan Brueghel the Elder "Smell" Peter Paul Rubens, Jan Brueghel the Elder "Taste"

One of the most famous works of the tandem - "Sense organs" - consisted of five paintings: "Hearing", "Sight", "Smell", "Touch", "Taste". It is believed that they were created to educate their own children. The aim of the artists was to show the origin of sensations.

Peter Paul Rubens, Jan Brueghel the Elder "Vision"

In the allegorical series of paintings "Five Senses", the artists paid special attention to the objective world, which symbolized the relationship between physical diversity and spiritual perfection. The canvas "Sight" depicts an office with various details related to "sight". In the right corner, the artists have inscribed their own paintings. The fruitful creative union was stopped by Bruegel's death. Rubens became the executor of his last will and guardian for the younger children. When the eldest son, Jan Brueghel, inherited his father's workshop, Rubens supported him.

The contradictory and energetic creative nature of Rubens still causes a lot of controversy. The most heated discussions are around images of women on canvases artist.

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