Landscape with a Fortified Town Pieter Bruegel Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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This is one of Bruegel's more complex drawings and features a huge amount of detail right across the paper. He liked to produce landscape sketches in pen and ink, but also produced figurative work in preparation for some of his paintings.

The composition features a castle within an undulating environment. There are also churches and houses within this cityscape, with more human influence included than in most of Bruegel's other drawings. There is also a stormy sky lurking close by which delivers a less calming atmosphere than normally used by Bruegel the Elder. Outside the city boundaries we find Bruegel resorting to his more common focus on trees and hills, with the occasional animal making its way around. Most likely this scene is actually entirely from the artist's imagination, and not based on anywhere specific to him.

The artist brought in a number of skilled print makers in order to turn some of these drawings into sellable items. They would be adapted into either woodcuts or etchings so that the printing process could then be used to output a good number of copies of the original designs. This may not have been Bruegel's initial preference for his work, but soon he started to earn considerable amounts of money through the sale of these prints, as well as having his artistic signature spread further and wider than had ever been the case. He was also now in the homes of more modest earning families, thanks for the greater affordability of these products, which would have pleased someone who famously was attracted to the lives of the ordinary folk. This method was used by countless other artists to generate a greater financial independence, particularly in Northern Europe.

This drawing is dated at 1553 and is a part of the impressive collection of the British Museum in London, UK. Their permanent display features many items acquired from the years of rule of the British Empire, as well as individual purchases made by the state over more recent years. They also hold regular exhibitions too, through combinations of their own collection plus other items loaned in for a short period. Those interested in historical items from right across the globe, including different civilisations dating back thousands of years would certainly enjoy the wonderful collection of this venue which consistently achieves amongst the most visitors of any institution within the UK, each and every year.