Friday, August 22, 2014
Jan Brueghel the Younger, Aeneas and the Sibyl in the Underworld
To be honest, what I especially love about this painting is the subject. It is from my favorite section of The Aeneid, when Aeneas travels to the Underworld to see his deceased father and learns about the future of Rome, the city he is destined to found. Brueghel (1601-1678) was a Flemish Baroque painter who demonstrated many hallmarks of the Northern Renaissance and Baroque. In this painting, for example, we can see a crowded scene populated by numerous varied figures, set against an elaborate background. The hellscape draws on the work of Brueghel's father (Jan Brueghel the Elder) who was in turn inspired by Hieronymus Bosch. The dark scene conveys the perils of Aeneas's journey and the many diverse sights he witnesses as he travels the Underworld with the Sibyl. The detail is astounding and Brueghel successfully communicated the scale and ominousness of the surroundings.