Return From The Inn

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Part of the Permanent Collection at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s painting Return from the Inn made around 1620, illustrates an outdoor winter landscape of rural peasant life in early seventeenth century Belgium. Born in 1564 or 1565 in Brussels, Belgium, Pieter Brueghel the Younger was a Flemish painter best known for being the oldest son of the famous sixteenth century Netherlandish painter Pieter Brueghel the Elder and Mayken Coecke van Aelstv (Artnet, 2016). Following the passing of both of his parents, Brueghel the Younger and his siblings Marie and Jan went to live with their grandmother Mayken Verhulst, a well-established painter of watercolors. It was her who introduced Brueghel the Younger to painting.…show more content…
At first contact with the painting, my eyes were immediately drawn to the center of the painting where a dominant figure of a man is highlighted not only by his large size, but also by his bright red jacket which invokes a strong presence in the painting. In contrast, the other peasant-like characters’ wear muted, dark colors while the child’s clothing in the far bottom left of the painting is almost indecipherable among the dark tree trunk. The use of the primary color red at the center of the painting emphasizes a sense of tension, urgency and motion (Herberholz, & Herberholz, 2002, p. 29). However, I also observed the emanating warm palette of colors associated with this Flemish renaissance era (Pastro, 2005, p. 51). The colors are “cozy” and reassuring. In truth, the blue sky, light ochre buildings and the terracotta-colored church, all covered with crisp white snow gives the painting its arresting quality, presenting a peaceful winter country scene. Overall, the painting presents a wide range of values and tones of colours. For instance, shades of yellow and gray are strategically painted onto the snow to represent the shoe prints of the characters. Interestingly, unlike his father, Pieter Brueghel the Younger depicted detailed objects in the painting through the use of representational shapes. In these artwork, the emphasis is on the realistic presentation of the subject matter. The people, objects, or landscape look very real and may be considered an imitation of nature (Herberholz, & Herberholz, 2002c, p. 90). In fact, artists frequently use realistic shapes in a two-dimensional artwork to represent three dimensional object-forms-that they see in the natural world (Herberholz, & Herberholz, 2002b, p. 34). In addition, the actions of the prominent figures give the painting a series of clear lines that are sharp and even perhaps violent. In the book Artworks for

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