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Paradise on Earth

Flemish landscape painting from Bruegel to Rubens

October 1, 2016 to January 15, 2017
An exhibition by the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in the Kunsthalle im Lipsiusbau

Flemish landscape paintings of the 16th and 17th centuries are among the exceptional treasures held by Dresden’s Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister. Despite their large number and high quality, however, they are not well known. This exhibition, which also includes drawings and prints from the Dresden Kupferstich-Kabinett, at last gives these masterpieces the attention they deserve. Following intensive investigation and restoration, many works in the exhibition can now be rediscovered completely anew.


Landscape painting became established as a new, independent genre in the southern Netherlands during the first third of the 16th century. A desire to understand the world, along with a growing, partly economically motivated, interest in geography and cartography as fundamental to travel and trade, were necessary preconditions for this development. Painters such as Joachim Patinir and Pieter Bruegel the Elder created new types of landscape compositions, for example that known as the Weltlandschaft (‘world landscape’), which were highly influential.

Jan Brueghel d. J. und Nachahmer, Paradieslandschaft mit der Erschaffung der Tiere, Öl auf Eichenholz, 53,7 x 81 cm, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, SKD - Bild öffnet sich in einer Vergrößerungsansicht.


The increasing demand for landscape paintings led to the development of numerous subgenres such as depictions of the seasons, cities, woodlands, mountains, heaven, hell or maritime scenes. Highly specialised workshops produced paintings for a flourishing art market. Finally, in the 17th century Peter Paul Rubens’ dramatic, atmospheric scenes carried Flemish landscape painting to new heights.

Catalogue

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, available for 28€ at the museum or 39,80€ in book stores ...more

Program of the exhibition

The accompanying program of the exhibition can be downloaded as leaflet ...more

The artists did not paint ‘portraits of landscapes’; instead, they produced carefully composed, ideal representations in the studio. For their invented Paradises they borrowed from the repertoire of forms available in nature. In these works, the viewer always encounters an extremely multifaceted image of a landscape, which is to a large extent an artistic invention. 

The exhibition is complemented by top-quality works on loan from major European museums. It is accompanied by a lavishly illustrated catalogue.