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It was in around the mid 16th century that Pieter Bruegel the Elder, in conjunction with a number of engravers and print publishers, would create a series of artworks that became known as The Large Landscapes. Rustic Solicitude was one of a dozen designs within this project.
There is a tall tree to the right which essentially serves as a frame to the rest of the composition. Its trunk is directly in the foreground of the design, with the rest of the landscape then falling away below us. It slowly leads away towards a mountain range in the far distance. There is also a series of clouds too, but these are harder to make out in this style of art, because of the avoidance of a varied palette. Shadows therefore become crucial in creating form and the strongest of those are on the face of the larger mountains, which also indicate the light is coming in from our right hand side. There is a real lack of humanity within this piece, with Bruegel concentrating entirely on the beautiful environment in which he lived, other than for the occasional building that can be seen by those with a sharp eye.
Traditional techniques were very much in vogue during 16th century Belgium, Netherlands and Germany, as we now know it, with woodcuts, etchings and printing methods all being treated as genuine specialist disciplines which other artists would show considerable respect to. Bruegel therefore called on the services of a number of these specialists in order to complete this project of landscape prints, rather than sinking time into trying to learn the methods himself. This had the advantage of getting things done much more quickly as well as ensuring the best quality final result, with no period of time needed for him to learn these crafts through trial and error. Artworks such as Rustic Solicitude would also, therefore, have the additional benefit of drawing attention to some of the other contributors involved, including Hieronymus Cock who was already a highly respected printmaker.
These delightful engravings, as well as the prints that were produced from them, will sometimes be loaned out for specialised exhibitions, most frequently within Bruegel's native Europe. Their permanent home is actually in the US, however, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. You will also find many other delightful artworks here as well, covering the Renaissance all the way up to modern day within their European paintings department. You might be interested in The Young Sailor II by Henri Matisse, The Houses of Parliament (Effect of Fog) by Claude Monet or The Gulf Stream by Winslow Homer, to name just a few. This huge venue will keep you busy for hours and many are shocked by the number of famous artists who are represented here. They also feature many items from more exotic cultures, including ancient civilisations from across the world.