Path through a Village 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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Path through a Village is one of the drawings uncovered from Pieter Bruegel's career which have been preserved up to the present day. Many of his sketches such as this were in the landscape genre.

Bruegel would use pen and ink in combination for most of his drawings and typically avoided including much human activity within this medium. He loved to produce calming landscape scenes with perhaps just a few buildings, but mainly focused on the natural environment around him. Most would be produced in and around where he lived, but he did sometimes travel abroad in order to study different regions, including Italy. You will notice how the simplicity of palette with his drawings, as opposed to his paintings, means everything merges very closely together and there is much less of a clear hierarchy of significance across the scene. Essentially, everything seems to hold much the same importance to the artwork as everything else.

Most of these landscape drawings were full of trees and other foliage, and perhaps during this period the countryside was home to more of them than it is in today's modern world. These tall plants would also help him to vertically plan out each composition and you will often find them flanking one side of the painting. In the example of Path through a Village, he incorporates trees right across the scene which gives a very rural atmosphere to this artwork. There is also a number of small buildings to illustrate the village, but they are distinctly merged into the habitat around them. The top half of the canvas is set aside entirely for a simple sky, with a build up of clouds ahead. There is also a small group of men making their way over to the village along a narrow path in the centre of the composition.

The drawing is dated at around 1552 and can now be found in the collection of the Leiden University Library. Most of Bruegel's work is now dispersed right across the world, such is the strength of his artistic reputation, though most of the main paintings still reside somewhere within the European continent. His work has actually increased in popularity in recent centuries, if anything, as the public's love for landscape art continues to grow every year. He is also seen as a fundamental influence in bringing this genre to our attention in the first place.