- Reference number
- Brueghel “the Elder”, Jan
- The Archdukes hunting
- Ca. 1611
- 135 cm x 246 cm
- On display
- Royal Collection
Surrounded by courtesans and hunting servants, the governors of the Spanish Low Countries, Archduke Alberto and Archduchess Isabel, rest in the shade of a large poplar tree during one of their hunts. One of their favorite residences, Mariemont Palace, near Brussels, is visible in the background.
Brueghel offers a precise, almost topographical rendering of the landscape, including certain elements that he repeats in other works. Formally, this painting continues the tradition of placing the horizon very high, as was customary in earlier Flemish landscapes.
The political component of this work is very relevant. It shows the governors exercising their right to hunt, which was reserved for the aristocracy, and also underlines the lush fields of the Low Countries.
This painting was in Madrid's Alcázar Palace in 1636, as one of many paintings sent from Brussels in order to show Felipe IV how magnificently the Archduke and Duchess were governing.