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.
Focus on Romanticism. Joseph Lies
From 28 March 2013 to 30 March 2014
For a whole year, the special focus in the Bruegel Land exhibition is on a selection of ten
Romantic paintings by
Joseph Lies (1821 – 1865). Lies was particularly interested in figures, events and
art from the 16th century. Pieter Bruegel was his great example. The paintings of Joseph Lies are
hyper-romantic. They convey a simple message: the world ought to be a place where life can unfold
like an idyll, where people rich and poor can enjoy a carefree and peaceful existence. But apart
from tender, amorous scenes, the artist also portrayed heartrending historical war scenes,
featuring murderous soldiers, burning towns and prisoners who are carried off amidst pleas from
their loved ones. Back in the 19th century, Lies’s work, like that of
Henri De Braekeleer,
Henri Leys and
François Lamorinière, was internationally known. Today, it is all but forgotten,
yet absolutely worth rediscovering.
Visit the website of
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.