Landscape with the Flight into Egypt
Pieter the Elder Bruegel (ca. 1525-1569)
Oil on panel
Depth: 5.2 cm [unchecked] ( frame ); Height: 49.6 cm [unchecked] ( frame ); Width: 68.4 cm [unchecked] ( frame ); Height: 37.1 cm ( panel ); Width: 55.6 cm ( panel );
Within image, lower right, very indistinct,
especially the last two figures, BRVEGEL MDLXIII
Seilern, Antoine (Count); bequest; 1978
About this work
The story of the Holy Family fleeing persecution in Bethlehem is transposed to an imaginary Northern European landscape, above a river valley bordered by craggy peaks. The dramatic setting enhances the religious narrative. The idol tumbling from its shrine in a pollarded willow (to the right of Mary) symbolises the defeat of paganism at the birth of Christ. Bruegel painted this for a major patron, Cardinal Perronot de Granvelle. It was later owned by the artist Peter Paul Rubens.
(Permanent collection label)
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Copyright: © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London