Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Two Monkeys, 1562

Investigation and Reconstruction of the Creative Process

Gallery of Old Masters

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© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie / Christoph Schmidt

Pieter Bruegel the Elder died 450 years ago, on September 9 1569. Seven years earlier, he signed and dated the small, enigmatic panel of The Two Monkeys.

How did Pieter Bruegel´s small painting come to be? On the basis of various technical examination methods and archival sources, it was possible to reconstruct the making of the painting. Technical analyses of the panel with the aid of a stereo microscope, UV radiation, X-ray imaging and infrared-reflectography as well as X-ray fluorescence analyses on a micro and macro scale identified the different pigments used and revealed the process of the making of the painting. Historical painting treatises provided information on the preparation of the colors at the time of Bruegel.

On the basis of this information, the step-by-step process of the creation of the painting was reproduced as faithfully as possible in a series of true-to-scale panels.

Reconstruction: Bertram Lorenz
Technical Analysis: Babette Hartwieg und Bertram Lorenz
Supported by Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien

Gallery of Old Masters
Matthäikirchplatz 4
10785 Berlin



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