JAN BRUEGHEL THE YOUNGER
LANDSCAPE WITH THE VIRGIN AND CHILD WITH PUTTI
In the foreground the Virgin and Child can be seen against an open forest landscape painted from an elevated point of view opening out into a distant prospect over a lake populated with ducks. Mother and child seem to be resting in the shade of the trees, while putti bring them flowers and a basket of fruits. This kind of scene is usually associated with the subject of the Flight into Egypt, but the figure of St Joseph is missing here. In this painting Jan Brueghel the Younger painted the landscape while Hendrik van Balen executed the figures and the still-life elements. Some of the latter carry a symbolic meaning: the rose bush in the background represents the virginity of Mary, while the cherries that the infant Christ is picking out of the basket are seen as a symbol of the Resurrection. The fast-growing gourd on the left of the foreground can be associated with the Biblical story of Jonah (Jonah 4: 6–7): to give Jonah some shade, God made a gourd grow, but it withered overnight – a further symbol of the Resurrection.
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Jan Brueghel the Younger
Landscape with the Virgin and Child with Putti, c. 1626
Oil on canvas
Hohenbuchau Collection, Inv.-No. HB-12
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