Elizabeth Alice Honig
Jan Brueghel and the Senses of Scale
Penn State UP 2016
Unlike the work of his contemporaries Rubens and Caravaggio, who painted on a grand scale, seventeenth-century Flemish painter Jan Brueghels tiny, detail-filled paintings took their place not in galleries but among touchable objects. This first book-length study of his work investigates how educated beholders valued the experience of refined, miniaturized artworks in Baroque Europe, and how, conversely, Brueghels distinctive aesthetic set a standardand a techniquefor the production of inexpensive popular images.
It has been easy for art historians to overlook the work of Jan Brueghel, Pieters son. Yet the very qualities of smallness and intimacy that have marginalized him among historians made the younger Brueghel a central figure in the seventeenth-century art world. Elizabeth Honigs thoughtful exploration reveals how his workswhich were portable, mobile, and intimatequestioned conceptions of distance, dimension, and style. Honig proposes an alternate form of visuality that allows us to reevaluate how pictures were experienced in seventeenth-century Europe, how they functioned, and how and what they communicated.