The National Museum of Art of Romania
Brueghel - Flower Bouquet
Artwork description
Jan Brueghel the Elder
(Bruxelles, 1568 - Antwerp, 1625)
Flemish school
Oil on wood
162 x 132 cm
Inv. 7988/22
Artwork location
European Art Gallery, 2nd floor, room 8
Sign language video
Sign language video

The Bucharest panel represents Jan Brueghel the Elder’s biggest and most complex Flower Bouquet. The painting is conceived along the same lines as the panel made for Cardinal Federico Borromeo in 1606. Many contemporary collectors and art lovers ordered similar paintings, turning this new type of still-life into one of the most successful creations ever of Jan Brueghel’s studio. Several generations of painters active in his studio specialized in flower bouquets of every size and complexity.

This particular painting is a true visual enciclopaedia. It depicts dozens of flower and plant species and varieties which the artist had studied for months in the Brussels garden of Archduke Albrecht of Habsburg. Amidst this rich floral world hide around 20 insect species. Flowers blossom and fade away, catepillars turn into crysalids which turn into butterflies thus measuring the passage of time and suggesting life’s cycles. Upon contemplating the painting one becomes aware of the frailty and ephemeral nature of beauty and life as much as of the divine nature of art. Close to the vase rim a fly’s buzz breaks the silence and our pensive contemplation…


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