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Originals, copies or imitations? The Brueghel dynasty and the case of the Two Peasants Binding Firewood

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TS

Tel: 01214147333

Originals, copies or imitations?


The Bruegel dynasty was headed by the great artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Such was his renown that his elder son, Pieter Brueghel the Younger, was able to make a successful artistic career producing copies. But how was he able to produce such faithful and detailed works and how do we now attribute this to its original maker?

This in-depth talk will reveal this secret copying technique and show us how reproductions were able to be made in such vast numbers. Dr Christina Currie will introduce us to the Brueghel dynasty, showing how she uses state-of-the-art technology such as infrared reflectography and X-radiography but also traditional connoisseurship to reveal the identity of an artwork's maker.

Using four versions of Two Peasants binding Firewood as a case in point, it will also touch on the tricky question of attribution, since many anonymous imitators also made their living by reproducing these same scenes. This forensic approach will distinguish between the originals by Bruegel the Elder, copies by Brueghel the Younger and versions by contemporaries and later imitators. Who is the attributed artist? You decide.

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The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, BirminghamMonet, Manet and Magritte; Rubens, Reynold, Renoir, Rossetti and Rodin; Gainsborough, Gauguin, Van Gogh and Van Dyck; Degas, Botticelli and Turner - the galleries at the Grade 1 listed Barber Institute of Fine Arts house an outstanding art collection, with masterpieces by all these major names in…


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