The power of the pen (chalk, charcoal, quill, etc.) comes to the fore in a trip back to the Netherlands of the 16th-century. The Albertina’s Bruegel and his Time exhibition shines a light on crosshatched shade to expose the delights of the drawing.
- Bruegel, de Beer, Goltzius, and more
- Includes newly-restored works
- Runs Feb 15 – May 24, 2023
- Supported by the Government of Flanders
- Book an Albertina ticket* online
- See also:
Drawings come of age
(Pieter Bruegel the Elder; Christ in Limbo, 1561; pen and brown ink; on paper; photo courtesy of and © ALBERTINA, Vienna)
Many regard the years around 1900 as the hotspot of historical Viennese creativity. When it comes to drawing, the Netherlands enjoyed its own notably rich period of innovation and variety in the 16th century. This was the time of Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/30-1569).
Across those years, drawings served a growing range of purposes.
This art form became appreciated in its own right, provided large-dimension cartoons for glass windows, served as preliminary sketches and designs, and captured the whirl of change brought about by sociopolitical, economic and religious developments.
An appropriate medium and era for an exhibition, then.
(Jacob Savery I.; Winter Landscape near Amsterdam, c. 1600–1603; pen and brown ink, watercolor, opaque watercolor; on paper; photo courtesy of and © The Albertina Museum, Vienna)
Fortunately, the Albertina just happens to have a collection of suitable drawings in its vast archives. Which allows them to bring us the Bruegel and his Time exhibition, featuring around 90 works.
Bruegel, of course, is one of those names that rank up there with Rembrandt, Michelangelo, and other greats of European art history. Mostly due to paintings such as Hunters in the Snow.
As well as the headline name, however, the exhibition also features such powerful artists as:
- The renowned engraver, Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1616/1617)
- The painter and Master of the Milan Adoration, Jan de Beer (around 1475 – 1528)
- The painter, Maarten van Heemskerck (1498 – 1574), known also for his Wonders of the World engraving designs that gave us an unexpected eighth wonder (Rome’s Colosseum)
(Maarten van Heemskerck; Job Tormented by Satan; pen and light- and dark-brown inks, over charcoal; on paper; photo courtesy of and © The Albertina Museum, Vienna)
As an additional bonus, several of the works on view have just finished the restoration process, so we can admire them in all their pristine glory.
I’ll add details, once I’ve had a chance to see the displays.
Dates, tickets and tips
Travel back in time to the 16th century Netherlands between February 15th and May 24th, 2023. An entrance ticket from or for the Albertina gets you into the museum and its exhibitions.
(Booking service provided by Tiqets.com*, who I am an affiliate of)
Spring 2023 in the Albertina offers another treat in the form of the Dürer, Munch, Miró exhibition, which showcases the evolution of printed graphics. And for a more contemporary take on a similar topic, consider the Albertina Modern’s Andy Warhol to Damien Hirst exhibition (from February 24th).
If you admire Bruegel’s work, be sure to visit the nearby Kunsthistorisches Museum. It owns the world’s most impressive collection of his paintings, which includes Hunters in the Snow mentioned above (you want Saal/Gallery 10 on Ebene/Floor 1).
How to get there
Address: Albertinaplatz 1, 1010 Vienna