This new catalogue raisonné of the drawings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder is a radical revision of previous catalogues, with Bruegel emerging as a zestful and inventive draughtsman.
This new catalogue raisonné of the drawings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, one of the most significant artists of the sixteenth century, is a landmark in studies of its kind. A radical revision of previous catalogues, Bruegel emerges as a highly intricate yet zestful and inventive draughtsman. The drawings range from complex allegorical designs to detailed landscapes, many depicting dramatic alpine scenery. Dr. Mielke has made one of his most significant contributions by discovering that many deceptive imitations of these views were drawn in the sixteenth century by Bruegel's follower, Roelant Savery, and have been accepted as Bruegel's own work ever since. The author also proposes that several, previously unknown or rejected drawings should be regarded as autograph, including the early River Landscape in the Louvre, one of the most overtly naturalistic landscape drawings to have survived from the sixteenth century. Many of Bruegels's drawings were made to prepare the engravings through which his work became celebrated in his own day, altough other, often more spontaneous sketches are also known. The catalogue also illustrates and discusses drawings that were formerly attributed to Bruegel. Dr Mielke, who until his death in 1994 was curator of Netherlandish drawings at the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett, had an incisive style of writing which well communicates the experience and knowledge that he had accumulated during more than three decades. In this period he was acknowledged as one of the most gifted connoisseurs in the field. The Bruegel catalogue, sadly the last he completed before his untimely death, is a model that will find many emulators and which will be the standard work on Bruegel's drawings for the foreseeable future.