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Rustic Market features in a series of designs from Pieter Bruegel that were later turned into engravings in order to publish prints at a later date. This process helped to establish Bruegel's reputation across Europe in a more cost effective way.
In the distance we see the rolling hills of this region, with the foreground dominated by a series of trees of a variety of heights. In the nearest foreground are animals making their way across the scene, along with a number of human figures who are presumably in command of them. There is a wealth of detail across the artwork which would have then greatily challenged the engravers to recreate this in that format. Bruegel would always choose the most highly skilled engravers that he could find in order to ensure that so quality was lost in the process of moving from his original work to the final printed artwork. These monotone pieces lack the excitement and energy of the Bruegel paintings with which we are so familiar, such as Hunters in the Snow and Fight Between Carnival and Lent, but are still significant within his career because of the impressive technical accomplishment that was necessary in the delivery of this challenging project.
Hieronymus Coch would step in for the final stage of the process, where the engravings were printed. This allowed these copies to be sent abroad in order to illustrate the qualities of the artist and his technical knowledge. Whilst already enjoying professional success, there would always be other opportunities around the corner for those bold enough to seek it out. Artists from this region were also already highly respected and so it was more a case of Bruegel pushing himself to the front of the queue as much as anything else. He also had a growing studio, including members of his family, and so needed to feed them with new projects as often as he could. There was also a pride element to this, both promoting themselves but also the beauty of their local environment, with only a few landscape artists being around in the mid 16th century.
Head to the incredible Metropolitan Museum of Art to find some of the finest European paintings and sculpture in history. You may also find the engravings and prints displayed here on display too, as they are a small part of this institution's huge collection. There is a great coverage of European art, built up from a series of generous donations as well as some direct purchases over the years. Those looking to enjoy some of the other highlights will find work from the likes of Henri Rousseau, Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, to name just four. The overall offering runs into the tens of thousands, meaning there should be something here to suit pretty much any taste for those lucky enough to visit. Fans of American art can also see a number of artworks from the delightful realism artist, John Singer Sargent.