Arts & Culture

The Harvesters

Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Netherlandish, Breda (?) ca. 1525–1569 Brussels)1565

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

This panel is part of a series showing the seasons or times of the year, commissioned from Bruegel by the Antwerp merchant Niclaes Jongelinck. The series included six works, five of which survive. The other four are: "The Gloomy Day," "Hunters in the Snow," and "The Return of the Herd" (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna); and "Haymaking" (Lobkowicz Collections, Prague). This remarkable group of pictures is a watershed in the history of Western art. The religious pretext for landscape painting has been suppressed in favor of a new humanism, and Bruegel's unidealized description of the local scene is based on natural observations.

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Details

  • Title: The Harvesters
  • Date: 1565
  • Physical Dimensions: w1619 x h1191 mm
  • Type: Paintings
  • External Link: MMA
  • Medium: Oil on wood
  • provenance extent: Complete
  • provenance: Niclaes Jongelinck, Antwerp (by 1566); [Hane von Wijke, Antwerp, until 1594; sold for fl 1,400 to Antwerp City Council as a gift for Archduke Ernst]; Archduke Ernst, governor of the Netherlands, Brussels (1594–d. 1595; inv., 1595, nos. 7–12, listed as "Sechs Taffell, von 12 Monathenn des Jars von Bruegel"); Emperor Rudolph II, Prague (until d. 1612); Archduke Leopold Wilhelm, governor of the Netherlands, Brussels and Vienna (until d. 1662; inv., 1659, nos. 582–86, "Fünff grosse Stuckh einer Grossen, warin die Zeithen desz Jahrs von Öhlfarb auf Holcz . . . Original vom alten Brögel"); Emperor Leopold I, Vienna (1662–d. 1705); Imperial collection, Vienna (until 1809); comte Antoine-François Andréossy, Vienna and Paris (1809–16; his sale, Pérignon, Paris, March 11, 1816, no. 1, as "Par un maître de l'ancienne École allemande . . . Un paysage du plus grand détail, offrant les travaux de la moisson . . . L. 58 p[ouces]., h. 44 p[ouces]. . . . Avec la date de 1546," for Fr 90.11); Jacques Doucet, Paris (until shortly before 1912; sold to Cels); Paul Jean Cels, Brussels (until 1919; sold to MMA)
  • medium extent: Complete
  • inscription extent: Complete
  • inscription: Signed and dated (lower right): BRVEGEL / [MD]LXV [now largely illegible]
  • description extent: Complete
  • credit line extent: Complete
  • credit line: Rogers Fund, 1919
  • Artist: Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Netherlandish, Breda (?) ca. 1525–1569 Brussels)

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