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Three unique works by Bruegel the Elder reunited at the Courto Gallery

Peter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525 - 1569) is considered the most important Dutch painter of the XVI century, although nowadays we know less than about forty of his paintings. The exhibition “Black and White Bruegel: the Reunion of the Three Grisails” in London is unique in that for the first time it brings together three exquisite monochrome masterpieces of the master that have survived to this day.Small grisailles contrast sharply with other works by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, which is most often associated with depictions of domestic scenes and fantastic creatures.Three SoldiersPeter Bruegel the Elder1558, 20.3 × 17.8 cmGrisaille is a technique of painting with tonal gradations of the same color (gray, sepia), as well as creating hand-drawn bas-reliefs or sculptural elements. It has been popular in Dutch art since the beginning of the 15th century, it is often found on the doors of altars and preparatory sketches for engravings. However, the works of Pieter Bruegel the Elder represent one of the earliest and rare examples of grisailles, created for private contemplation and pleasure. Such an exposition is possible only in the gallery of the Curto Art Institute, since the painting “Christ and a woman convicted of adultery” (see main illustration) owns this museum, it is forbidden to transport. Next to her are two more works by Bruegel the Elder, made in this technique, “The Assumption of the Virgin” from the National Fund of Great Britain and “Three Soldiers” from the Frick Collection in New York. These refined grayscale masterpieces were of particular value to the artist and his friends "Christ and the woman ..." Bruegel kept at home, and "Assumption" belonged to his close friend, the great cartographer Abraham Ortelius.Assumption of the VirginPiter Bruegel the Elder1564, 36 × 55 cmThree boards are supplemented with engravings of copies of those years, as well as other grizzlies, which sheds light on the development of this genre in Northern Europe. Of particular interest are two remarks of "Christ and the woman." One is attributed to Jan Breugel the Elder, son of Peter, and the other is believed to have been created in Italy by order of Cardinal Federico Borromeo.Visit to the Peasant House Jan Bruegel the Elder1597, 28.5 × 42.7 cmThe exhibition “Black and white Bruegel: the reunion of the three grisailles” will last until May 8. In parallel with it (until April 17), the exposition “Bruegel is not Bruegel” is open, where the works are collected, both supposedly made by this master, and supposedly belonging to him.
The Curto Art Institute, of which the Curto Gallery is a part, was founded in 1932. He owns an impressive collection of masterpieces of old painters and craftsmen of the XIX - XX centuries. Among them, for example, “Bar in the Folies-Bergere” by Edouard Manet, “Self-portrait with a cut off ear” by Vincent Van Gogh, “Seated Nude” by Amedeo Modigliani and other famous works.