Mule Caravan on Hillside 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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Mule Caravan on Hillside was one of a number of landscape drawings produced by Pieter Bruegel that were so detailed they could be considered completed artworks in their own right.

Here we find a row of tall trees looking fairly bare on the right hand side of the foreground. This provides perspective as we look down from a hill over the remaining part of the view. A series of hills can be seen in the background, as well as the typically calm skies which Bruegel normally used within his drawings. An open expanse of land cuts across most of the scene and there is only just a simple touch of humanity with the caravan, as mentioned in the title. Bruegel liked to concentrate on nature when working in this medium, which we know to be a brown or black pen with which he worked many times. This provided a precision that was necessary for this art form, where as with his paintings there would be multiple amendments over time and so the considerations about technique and production would be quite different, even though the content might be similar.

His family would take the mantle over after his passing but struggled to match their father's innovation and would generally just make copies of his work. The Elder's drawings, therefore, provide us with the starting point from where all of this family dynasty's success would first begin. He was the brains behind it all, where as they would study his work and begin to extend his legacy beyond his life, in order to provide themselves with careers of their own. Pieter the Younger was particularly known for this, though Jan also was a little creative in his oeuvre.

This drawing is believed to now be owned by the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, which is based in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Their collection is outrageous in both size and quality, with over 150,000 items in total at the time of writing. The Little Tower of Babel, also from Pieter Bruegel the Elder can be found here as well as The Wayfarer and Nest of Owls from Hieronymus Bosch. Their more recent artworks include a number from Belgian surrealist, Rene Magritte, such as On the Threshold of Liberty and Not to be Reproduced and you may also be interested in Face of War from Salvador Dali. In all, this is an incredible collection with a good variety of styles included and it is therefore unsurprising that this venue has become one of the most visited galleries within the Netherlands, competing well against those in the larger city of Amsterdam.