Jan Brueghel and the Senses of Scale

Hardcover | August 24, 2016

byElizabeth Alice Honig

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Unlike the work of his contemporaries Rubens and Caravaggio, who painted on a grand scale, seventeenth-century Flemish painter Jan Brueghel’s tiny, detail-filled paintings took their place not in galleries but among touchable objects. This first book-length study of his work investigates how educated beholders valued the experience of refined, miniaturized artworks in Baroque Europe, and how, conversely, Brueghel’s distinctive aesthetic set a standard—and a technique—for the production of inexpensive popular images.

It has been easy for art historians to overlook the work of Jan Brueghel, Pieter’s son. Yet the very qualities of smallness and intimacy that have marginalized him among historians made the younger Brueghel a central figure in the seventeenth-century art world. Elizabeth Honig’s thoughtful exploration reveals how his works—which were portable, mobile, and intimate—questioned conceptions of distance, dimension, and style. Honig proposes an alternate form of visuality that allows us to reevaluate how pictures were experienced in seventeenth-century Europe, how they functioned, and how and what they communicated.

A monumental examination of an extraordinary artist, Jan Brueghel and the Senses of Scale reconsiders Brueghel’s paintings and restores them to their rightful place in history.

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Unlike the work of his contemporaries Rubens and Caravaggio, who painted on a grand scale, seventeenth-century Flemish painter Jan Brueghel’s tiny, detail-filled paintings took their place not in galleries but among touchable objects. This first book-length study of his work investigates how educated beholders valued the experience of ...

Elizabeth Alice Honig is Associate Professor of European Art at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of Painting and the Market in Early Modern Antwerp (1999).
Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 10 × 9 × 0.98 inPublished:August 24, 2016Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271071087

ISBN - 13:9780271071084

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

1 Forging Connections

2 Hands-On Art: Brueghel, Francken, and Habits of Collecting in Rome and Antwerp

3 Small Stories: Brueghel and the Painting of Classical History

4 Genealogy: The Burden of Descent and the Individuality of Style

5 Paradise Regained: Collaboration as the Sociability of Visual Thought

Conclusion

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Editorial Reviews

“Jan Brueghel and the Senses of Scale presents a long-awaited and much-needed analysis of a critical yet neglected painter. What Elizabeth Honig offers in this study fills a crucial lacuna, as no one else has redressed the relative absence of Jan Brueghel in period accounts, even in the standard surveys of Flemish painting. This is thoughtful, critical, and revisionist art history that challenges assumptions about the importance of period style and pictorial categories.”—Larry Silver, author of Pieter Bruegel