Pieter Bruegel the Elder has for centuries been a source of inspiration to innumerable Flemish artists. The exhibition entitled Bruegel Land, at the Municipal Museum of Lier, explores the extent of the Master’s influence on subsequent generations of painters.
Who is not familiar with the scenes from popular life by Pieter Bruegel the Elder? They are known the world over and forever etched into our collective memory. In fact Bruegel was already a renowned artist during his lifetime. Emperors, kings and queens, as well as wealthy burghers would pay substantial sums of money for work by his hand. It was a way of confirming their self-identity by distancing themselves from the uncultivated, ‘boorish’ behaviour that Bruegel depicted in his genre scenes. After his death, his sons – Pieter Brueghel the Younger and Jan Brueghel the Elder – picked up the proven success formula. Following in their wake were artists such as Van Ostade, Teniers and Steen, all of whom produced personal interpretations of Bruegelian tavern and festival scenes. In the 18th and 19th centuries, genre painters such as De Braekeleer and Horemans also followed in the footsteps of Bruegel. And in the early 20th century, Bruegel was reinvented by the Flemish Expressionists, as Permeke, De Smet, Smits and Van de Woestyne breathed new life into his peasant scenes with their characteristically earthy palette and raw brushwork.
Artworks and Treasures
Running as a thread through the Bruegel Land exhibition is the folk tradition in Flemish and Dutch art since the sons of Pieter Bruegel the Elder. It showcases fifty works from the collection of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA), supplemented with artworks and other treasures from the collections of the Municipal Museums of Lier. Every year, the focus of the exhibition changes to offer visitors an opportunity to explore different aspects.
High Horizon. Bruegel Land, Early 21st Century
From 27 April 2014 to 19 March 2015
An exhibition project centred on the universal visual idiom of Pieter Bruegel, his direct followers, and contemporary artists as chroniclers of their ages.
The high horizon, which is so characteristic of Bruegel's panoramic landscapes and folk scenes, has become part of the collective memory. It is an unusual perspective that creates room for grotesque details, architectural elements and human figures that are represented diminutively as workings of ‘eternal’ nature. Within these densely populated scenes, the Old Master captures the fullness of life through an often allegorical and tragicomic lens.
High Horizon builds on this visual and mental conception, whereby a physically descriptive and morally critical outlook onto the world emerges as the common ground between different generations of artists. The work of such present-day artists as Philip Aguirre y Otegui, Kati Heck, Rinus Van de Velde and Ria Pacquée reactivates and contemporises the historical scenes of Bruegel and his artistic heirs. The exhibition is conceived as a dynamic event incorporating performances, screenings and lectures throughout the year.
Voorkamer is an arts initiative by and for artists. It stages annual solo and group exhibitions of domestic and foreign contemporary visual artists. In so doing, it offers a heterogeneous perspective on contemporary visual arts and promotes an active dialogue between artists and the public.
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for further information on lectures, concerts, nocturnes, holiday workshops and guided tours
This exhibition is a collaboration between KMSKA and the Municipal Museums of Lier.