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Gallery Text

Although this landscape includes details that appear specific—from the pair of travelers crossing a bridge to the view of a city that recedes in the distance—it does not represent an actual location and was most likely drawn inside Bril’s studio in Rome. Nevertheless, the concern with conveying tangible atmospheric effects, the employment of a low vantage point, and the gradual projection of the sense of depth in this drawing are all signs of a movement toward greater realism in Bril’s art in the years around 1600. Celebrated for his ability to enliven his landscapes through illumination, the artist here transformed a swampy forest interior into a mesmerizing theater of light. He achieved this striking effect by juxtaposing heavily shaded sections, such as the gnarled tree trunks at left, and fields of lighter colors, like the rocky outcrop at center, with areas of paper left entirely unworked.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
1.2018.216
People
Paul (Paulus) Bril, Flemish (Antwerp or Breda 1553/54 - 1626 Rome)
Title
Wooded Landscape with Travelers
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Wooded Landscape with Figures
Classification
Drawings
Work Type
drawing
Date
1600
Culture
Flemish
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/289336

Physical Descriptions

Medium
Brown ink and brown and gray wash over black chalk on cream antique laid paper, framing lines in black ink over black chalk
Dimensions
18.2 × 27.3 cm (7 3/16 × 10 3/4 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: lower right, brown ink: 1600 / [signed with a pair of spectacles]
  • collector's mark: verso, lower right, black ink: [rooster on a turtle] [Lugt 2811b, mark of Carl Robert Rudolf]
  • collector's mark: verso, lower right, blue ink: M G A [in monogram] [Lugt 3306, mark of Maida and George Abrams]
  • watermark: None

Provenance

Recorded Ownership History
Sold [through Sotheby's, London, July 15, 1931, lot 69]. [P. & D. Colnaghi, London]. Carl Robert Rudolf, London (Lugt 2811b). Maida and George Abrams, Boston (Lugt 3306), 1975

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
The Maida and George Abrams Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Promised Gift
Accession Year
2018
Object Number
1.2018.216
Division
European and American Art
Contact
am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu
Permissions

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Publication History

  • "Old Master Drawings: The Rudolf Collection", The Illustrated London News (January 13, 1962), no. 6389, vol. 240, p. 65, p. 65, repr.
  • C. R. Rudolf, Old Master Drawings from the Collection of Mr. C. R. Rudolf, Arts Council of Great Britain, London (London, England, 1962), p. 19, cat. no. 90
  • David Burnett, "The Drawings of Paul Bril" (1974), University of London, no. 31, under no. 33
  • Franklin W. Robinson, Seventeenth Century Dutch Drawings from American Collections, exh. cat., International Exhibitions Foundation (Washington, D.C, 1977), cat. no. 1, p. 3, repr.
  • John Oliver Hand, J. R. Judson, and William W. Robinson, The Age of Bruegel: Netherlandish Drawings in the Sixteenth Century, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art/Cambridge University Press (Washington, D.C. and Cambridge, England, 1986), pp. 81-82, cat. no. 19
  • Louisa Wood Ruby, Paul Bril: The Drawings, Brepols (Brussels, 1999), pp. 89-90, no. 34
  • William W. Robinson, Bruegel to Rembrandt: Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2002), cat. no. 3, pp. 30-31, repr. p. 31
  • Joanna Sheers Seidenstein and Susan Anderson, ed., Crossroads: Drawing the Dutch Landscape, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, 2022), pp. 32-33, 95, 126, 168, 229, repr. p. 32 as fig. C

Exhibition History

Subjects and Contexts

  • Dutch, Flemish, & Netherlandish Drawings

Verification Level

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu