Pieter Bruegel The Elder’s The Months: A Perspective
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In the year 1565, Antwerp merchant Nicolaes Jongelinck commissioned Pieter Bruegel the Elder to paint a series of paintings, The Months, for his suburban villa. Unfortunately, Jongelinck lost possession of the series of paintings and the works were passed from collection to collection. In passing from owner to owner, the collection changed in size causing the original number of paintings in the series to be a debated topic. There are those who believe that there were originally twelve paintings in the series while others argue that there were only six. In either case, today, there are only five from the original series that remain. In examining prototypical work depicting the labors of the months, contemporaries of Bruegel, and the works of his children and other artists who followed after Bruegel, certain themes can be found consistently in the representations of the labors of the months. These themes help reveal that there were likely twelve paintings in the original series. Further examination into these other works also provides possible ideas as to what the missing paintings would have looked like.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- The Months -- Prototypical artwork -- Bruegel's contemporaries and followers -- After Bruegel -- Perspectives on The Months -- Conclusion