Artibus et Historiae no. 19 (X)

1989, ISSN 0391-9064

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WALTER LIEDTKE - Peasants Fighting Over Cards by Pieter Bruegel and Sons

Pieter Brueghel the Younger's various paintings of "Peasants fighting Over Cards" are usually considered to record a late, lost work by Pieter Brueghel the Elder. The earliest version is dated 1610 [Fig. 5], others date from 1619 [Fig. 1], 1620, and later. Also dating from about 1619-20 is a chalk drawing by Rubens [Fig. 4] which interprets the elder Breugel's figure group in a Baroque style close to that found in Rubens's contemporary oil sketches for the ceiling paintings of the Jesuit Church in Antwerp. Rubens's version of the composition was employed by Lucas Vorsterman for his engraving [Fig. 3], which is inscribed Pet. Bruegel invent., and is dedicated to Jan Brueghel the Elder. The latter artist may have composed some of the background elements found in a number of Pieter Brueghel the Younger's panels, and Jan Brueghel may also have painted one or two versions, now lost, of the entire composition. In any case, it is clear that the main group of figures was conceived by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, and that everything now known about this composition is transmitted to us by his sons, principally Pieter the Younger.

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