The Art Inquirer is your source of news for the artist and the Art appreciator
Established in 2008

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Museo Nacional del Prado unveils "The Wine of Saint Martin’s Day" by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Late September the Museo Nacional del Prado (Madrid, Spain) disclosed to the public a painting by the flemish artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder.
With the title "The Wine of Saint Martin's Day" the painting depicts the saint's feast day, the 11th of November, celebrated by eating “Saint Martin’s Goose” and sampling the new wine from the recent grape harvest, events coinciding with the autumn pig-killing.
The Saint Martin's Day would become associated with the free distribution of wine to country people outside city gates.
Despite the presence of Saint Martin dividing his cloak, the subject of the composition is the celebration of Saint Martin’s Day as it took place in Flanders and in the Germanic world during this period, where it had something of the character of a bacchanal and was the prelude to the Winter Carnival, thus not having the usual religious connotation.
The composition is set in late autumn with numerous bare trees and is located outside a city gate, the architectural style of which suggests the Porte de Hal in Brussels.

In the early XVII century and according to descriptions, the painting would be acquired by the Duke Vincenzo II, a patron of Rubens and a connoisseur of flemish painting.
However the first known documented owner was Luis Francisco de la Cerda y Aragón, 9th Duke of Medinaceli (1660-1711), who probably acquired it during the years that he spent in Italy, first as Spanish Ambassador in Rome (1687-1696), then as Viceroy in Naples (1696-1702)14.
The painting was in Spain no later than 1702 if not before. This was the year in which the 9th Duke left his post as Viceroy of Naples and returned to the Madrid court. It has been in the collection of the same family since then.
It is quite probable that the present work is the same one that was to be found during the early 17th century in the Gonzaga collection in Mantua: "Un quadro dipintovi la festa di S. Martino con una quantità di pitochi che bevano ad una botta, opera del Bruol Vecchio, L.36015" [A picture in which is painted the feast of Saint Martin with many poor people drinking from a barrel, a work of Bruegel the Elder, 360 Liras]

Measuring 148cm by 270cm (Bruegel's biggest known work until now) The Wine of Saint Martin's Day is a work on linen of the tuchlein type, painted in glue-size tempera on an unprepared ground.
The original support is made from a fine, regularly woven linen of a pale tone and with a taffeta weave and treated with nothing more than a coat of animal size.

The restoration of the painting began in February, supervised by Elisa Mora from the Museo del Prado and despite the overall wear it's possible to appreciate the brushstrokes characteristic of Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

Aside Quintin Massys and Joachim Patinir, Bruegel is considered the most important flemish painter of the 16th-century and was considered the "new Bosch"
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (also Brueghel or Breughel) was the only one from the same family line of dutch/flemish painters that signed his paintings with Bruegel.
In fact until 1599 he would sign Brueghel, dropping the "h" from there on, and since the painting was completed between 1565 and 1568, it's signed Bruegel.

The work belongs to a private collection, however the Spanish Government is negotiating its purchase.
Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments: