Studio of Pieter Brueghel II (Brussels c. 1564-1637/8 Antwerp)
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Studio of Pieter Brueghel II (Brussels c. 1564-1637/8 Antwerp)

To fill the well once the calf has fallen in

Details
Studio of Pieter Brueghel II (Brussels c. 1564-1637/8 Antwerp)
To fill the well once the calf has fallen in
oil on panel, circular
7¾ in. (19.6 cm.) diam.
Special notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.

Lot Essay

The composition is one of two types associated with Pieter Brueghel II and his workshop, of which Klaus Ertz (Pieter Brueghel der Jüngere, I, Lingen, 2000, pp. 202-3, nos. E80-3) lists five autograph examples. These are split between two types: those in which the farmer fills in the well with earth from a basket, and the present type in which a spade is used. This latter composition derives in reverse from the relevant figures in Pieter Bruegel I's Netherlandish Proverbs (Berlin, Staatiche Museen, Gemäldegalerie).

The subject of the painting is the proverb 'De put dempen als 't kalf verdronken is', of which the English equivalent is 'To shut the stable door after the horse has bolted'. Beneath the roundel in the relevant plate from the series of proverbs in the Museum Mayer van den Bergh, Antwerp, attributed by some scholars to Pieter I but regarded by Beck as being early copies, the tag is expanded to: Wat haet het sien en derelyck loncken, ick stop den put als tcalf is verdroncken.'
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