Materials and Techniques of Pieter Bruegel the Elder

6 - 8 December 2018

Programme  Register now

The Hand of the Master

Materials and Techniques of Pieter Bruegel the Elder

In conjunction with the exhibition:

Bruegel - The Hand of the Master

October 2, 2018-January 13, 2019

Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Curated by Elke Oberthaler, Sabine Pénot, Manfred Sellink and Ron Spronk,
with Alice Hoppe-Harnoncourt

This symposium is part of an important exhibition and research project on the creative processes of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, and is organized by Elke Oberthaler (Head of Paintings Conservation, Kunsthistorisches Museum), Sabine Pénot (Curator for Netherlandish and Dutch Painting, Kunsthistorisches Museum), Manfred Sellink (Director, Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp and Professor of Art History, Ghent University) and Ron Spronk (Professor of Art History, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario and Radboud University, Nijmegen), with Alice Hoppe-Harnoncourt (Kunsthistorisches Museum). The exhibition presents the findings of this study, including technical investigations and art historical and provenance research, to the public. Showcasing his paintings, drawings and prints, this seminal, first-ever major monographic exhibition on Pieter Bruegel the Elder opens on October 2, 2018.

The symposium will bring together renowned Bruegel scholars, conservators, and scientists who will offer new insights into Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s paintings, drawings and prints. We will focus at material and technical aspects. The symposium offers a unique opportunity for discussion and exchange, and to see Bruegel‘s original works that have been assembled for the exhibition. All papers presented at the symposium will be included in autumn 2019 in an essay volume published by the Kunsthistorisches Museum in collaboration with Hannibal Publishing.

Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Bassano Hall


Thursday, Dec. 6th

2 - 5 pm: Opening and Afternoon Session

Words of Welcome
Sabine Haag, Stefan Weppelmann, David Maenaut


Bruegel in Antwerp
Jan Van der Stock (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)


Bruegel's Paintings in the early years of the Kunsthistorisches Museum
Alice Hoppe-Harnoncourt (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)


Bruegel Scholarship in Vienna
Sabine Pénot (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)


Recent Bruegel Scholarship
Manfred Sellink (Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp)

Friday, Dec. 7th

10 am - 1 pm: Morning Session

The Function of Drawings in the Oeuvre of Bruegel
Joris Van Grieken (Bibliothèque royale de Belgique / Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Brussels) and
Lieve Watteeuw (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)


"The Parable of the Blind" and "Misanthrope" - Tüchlein from the Museo di Capodimonte, Naples
Angela Cerasuolo (Museo di Capodimonte, Naples)


Pieter Bruegel's Grisaille Paintings
Aviva Burnstock (The Courtauld Institute of Art, London)


Bruegel and the Tradition of Book Illumination
Till-Holger Borchert (Musea Brugge, Bruges)

2 - 6 pm: Afternoon Session

Traces of lost Pieter Bruegel Paintings revealed through Derivative Paintings, Phantom Copies, and Dealer Practices
Hans J. Van Miegroet (Duke University, Durham NC, U.S.A.)


Insights on the Genesis of Pieter Bruegel the Elder's "Conversion of Saul" and Examination of some Copies
Christina Currie (KIK/IRPA, Brussels) and Dominique Allart (Université de of Liège)


The "Temptation of St. Anthony" in the National Gallery of Art, Washington D. C., National Gallery Washington
Ron Spronk (Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario and Radboud Universiteit, Nijmegen)




Technological Research of the Panel "Two Monkeys" and the Making of a Reconstruction
Babette Hartwieg and Bertram Lorenz (Staatliche Museen, Berlin)


La restauración del "Triunfo de la Muerte" de Pieter Bruegel el Viejo del Museo del Prado
Maria Antonia López de Asiaín and José de la Fuente Martinez (Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid)


The cleaning and restoration of Bruegels panel painting "Suicide of Saul"
Elke Oberthaler (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)

Saturday, Dec. 8th

10 am - 1 pm: Morning Session

Dendrochronology of the Panels by Pieter Bruegel the Elder in the Kunsthistorisches Museum's collection
Pascale Fraiture (KIK/IRPA, Brussels)


Bruegel's Panel Paintings in Vienna: Remarks on their Construction and Condition
Ingrid Hopfner and Georg Prast (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)


Bruegel's Textile Worlds
Katja Schmitz von Ledebur (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)




Between Brussels and Antwerp. New Perspectives on Bruegel's "Cycle of the Seasons"
Tine Luk Meganck (Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique / Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België, Brussels)


Bruegel and Realia - Context and Reception of his Paintings
Claudia Goldstein (William Paterson University, Wayne, New Jersey, U.S.A)


No Sign-Poster – Neither in Life nor in Death. „Peasant and Nestrobber“ – „The Conversion of Saul“ – „The Triumph of Death“
Daniela Hammer-Tugendhat (Universität für angewandte Kunst, Vienna)


Registration fee is 50 Euro and includes access to the exhibition from December 6-8, 2018.
After registration you will be asked to enter the KHM online Ticket Shop to purchase a Symposium Ticket. This is necessary to confirm your registration.

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