Jan Brueghel (1568-1625)

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Jan was born in Brussels in 1568, and was only one year old when his father, Pieter Brueghel the Elder, died. Jan travelled to Italy in 1589, and settled back in Antwerp towards the end of 1596. Three years later he married Elizabeth de Jode, daughter of the engraver Gerard de Jode. In 1601 he became co-dean of the Guild of St Luke. Among his close friends were Hendrick van Balen, to whom Van Dyck was apprenticed, and Peter Paul Rubens, with whom Jan worked in partnership on painting commissions. In 1609 he became Court painter in Brussels to the archdukes Albert and Isabella, but he was permitted to live in Antwerp. He also received commissions from Emperor Rudolph and Sigismund II of Poland. His delicate touch and ability to convey textures earned him the nickname "Fluwelen" or "Velvet" Brueghel (although according to W. H. Carpenter it was due to "his dress being usually of that material" (Pictorial Notices, 1844, p.85). Jan died in a cholera epidemic that swept through Antwerp in 1625. If Van Dyck painted Jan's portrait, it must date from before 1621, when he left Antwerp for Italy.

Click here to see three states of the portrait print


The Fitzwilliam Museum : Jan Brueghel, the Elder

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