BRUEGHEL, Jan the Elder
(b. ca. 1568, Bruxelles, d. 1625, Antwerpen)

Landscape with Windmills

c. 1607
Oil on panel, 34 x 50 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

In the second decade of the century, which marks Brueghel's mature period, we find a number of landscape paintings that differ considerably from his universal landscapes. They show flat land broken by only a few motifs such as windmills or isolated cottages bathed in changing light. There is an increased sense of portraiture and figure genre is used sparingly. As in the landscapes of Rubens, peasants' carts, cutting a diagonal path, give a heightened impression of depth and distance. One of the elements which indicates that this is a Flemish landscape rather than a Dutch one is the fact that the horizon is placed fairly high in the painting.