560. [Flemish school]

Follower of BRUEGEL THE ELDER, Pieter

Lycian farmers into frogs.

1570-1600

Drawing, pen and brown ink, heightened with brown wash, 20,5 x 31 cm, laid paper, unsigned (laid down on old backing paper some minor creases to lower right corner).

Under passe-partout.

The drawing depicts the myth told by Ovid (Metamophoses, book 6). When Leto was wandering the earth after giving birth to Apollo and Diana, she attempted to drink water from a pond in Lycia. The peasants there refused to allow her to do so by stirring the mud at the bottom of the pond. Leto turned them into frogs for their inhospitality, forever doomed to swim in the murky waters and marshes of ponds and rivers. This theme was popular in Northern Mannerist art, allowing a combination of mythology with landscape painting and peasant scenes, thus combining history painting and genre painting. The overall composition of the drawing recalls those by Pieter Bruegel the Elder; particularly the motif of the farmers harvesting wheat with resting peasants and a scythe seems to be a direct reference to the Summer from the Four Seasons print series (1570), engraved by Pieter van der Heyden after designs by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The rendering of the figures, however, differs from the minutiously hatched and detailed figure types which usually occupy Bruegel's drawn oeuvre (e.g. Bruegel's drawing for the above mentioned engraving, now in the collection Hamburger Kunsthalle, inv. 21758). The energetic, linear style, the figures with large eye sockets, and rapid hatching are somewhat similar to that of Pieter Baltens (1527-1584), who was one of the key players in the further development of the Bruegelian style and themes.
Prov. Paul Sandby (1725-1809), painter and engraver (stamp, Lugt 2112 at lower left).

€ 2.000 / 3.000

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