Jan Brueghel The Elder:
Flemish Baroque Era Painter, 1568-1625
was a Flemish painter, son of Pieter Brueghel the Elder and father of Jan Brueghel the Younger. Nicknamed "Velvet" Brueghel, "Flower" Brueghel, and "Paradise" Brueghel, of which the latter two were derived from favored subjects, while the former may refer to the velveteen sheen of his colors or to his habit of wearing velvet. He was born in Brussels. His father died in 1569, and then, following the death of his mother in 1578, Jan, along with his brother Pieter Brueghel the Younger ("Hell Brueghel") and sister Marie, went to live with their grandmother Mayken Verhulst (widow of Pieter Coecke van Aelst). She was an artist in her own right, and according to Carel van Mander, possibly the first teacher of the two sons. The family moved to Antwerp sometime after 1578. He first applied himself to painting flowers and fruits, and afterwards acquired considerable reputation by his landscapes and sea-pieces. He formed a style more independent of his father's than did his brother Pieter the Younger. His early works are often landscapes containing scenes from scripture, particularly forest landscapes betraying the influence of the master forest landscape-painter Gillis van Coninxloo. Later in his career, he moved toward the painting of pure landscapes and townscapes, and, toward the end, of still lifes. After residing long at Cologne he travelled into Italy, where his landscapes, adorned with small figures, were greatly admired. He left a large number of pictures, chiefly landscapes, which are executed with great skill. Many of his paintings are collaborations in which figures by other painters were placed in landscapes painted by Jan Brueghel.