Air (1621)

Brueghel, Jan the Elder (1568-1625)

Oil on copper, 45 x 65 cm
Musée du LouvreParis

Birds like the armillary sphere of the muse Urania, the telescope of the putto which observes the chariots of Apollo (sun) and Diana (moon) and the instruments for measuring space at the bottom right signify the allegory of the ‘Air’. Enriched and inverted reproduction of the Brueghel on the same subject, dated 1610, kept at the Lyon Museum (Werche, n° A 139). Slightly chubby and sculptural figures, typical of Van Balen, as in the Lyon painting. Only Brueghel‘s participation (birds, sky, landscape, trees) justified his signature here (that of Van Balen being too minor to be indicated, cf. on this point Werche, p. 60). (Louvre)