The National Gallery of Denmark holds a hitherto unexplored group of paintings, some signed by or attributed to Pieter Bruegel the Elder and Pieter Brueghel the Younger, others as School of Brueg(h)el. These paintings have not previously been the subject of technical analyses nor have they been contextualized within existing research on the painting techniques applied by the Bruegel family. A thinly painted panel painting attributed to Pieter Bruegel the Elder is illustrating The Strife of Lent with Shrove-Tide (sign: BRVEGHEL.1563 (?)) and depicts tree faces modelled over an underdrawing in red chalk. A much larger panel signed by Pieter Brueghel the Younger depicts Christ on the way to Calvary (sign: P.BRVEGHEL), one of several repetitions. By means of a range of technical analyses, including non-destructive dendrochronology, infrared reflectography and pigment identification the painting techniques of both paintings by father and son will be thoroughly documented.
Additionally the copying practices or emulation of Brueghel imagery as found in four delicately rendered landscapes on copper by artists within the so-called ‘Brueg(h)el school’ paintings will be studied. Two are attributed to Jan Brueghel the Elder or Pieter Brueghel the Younger; however one has a maker’s mark on the verso dating after 1660. The techniques will be discussed in relationship to the autograph versions of the scenes depicted as well as with current art historical interpretations of the longevity of an image over time.