Landscape with Windmills

Jan 'the elder' Brueghel (school of), 1568 - 1625

Landscape with Windmills

Jan 'the elder' Brueghel (school of) 1568 - 1625


This delicate little Flemish painting on copper, with its high viewpoint and use of colour to suggest recession, is an example of the sort of landscape used as a model by early 17th-century Dutch artists. The foreground browns and greens give way to a background of blues that fade gradually to give a sense of aerial perspective. The composition is framed by the tall windmill on the left and the undulating ground on the right, which lead the eye back into the picture space. The scene is brought to life by small figures going about their daily business. It is probably by a contemporary of Jan Brueghel the Elder. The treatment of the landscape and figures is more generalised than is usual in his work, which is characterised by extensive landscapes filled with exquisite details condensed into small formats, making them highly portable and influential. After seeing the painting on a visit to the gallery in 2011, Betsy Wieseman of the National Gallery, London, was of the opinion that this is a rather heavy-handed copy of Brueghel, whose brushwork is usually very light, almost painted at ease. By contrast, this appears quite forced. A Brueghel drawing (pen and brown and blue wash) of a similar composition, in the collection of Dr F. Springell of Partinscale, Cumberland (see Illustrated London News, 24 October 1959, p. 489), was exhibited in Flemish Art, Royal Academy 1853-4, no. 547, at Hatton Gallery, Newcastle, 1953, no. 40, and at Colnaghi's, October-November 1959, no. 40, ill. pl. XVII.

Object Name

Landscape with Windmills


unframed: 30cm x 38cm
framed: 65.2cm x 74.7cm

accession number


Place of creation





oil paint


Gift of Mrs Hatton


© Manchester Art Gallery

Fill out my online form.