Paul Bril

Born: 1554  - Death: 1626    Located in: The Rembrandt Room

With his brother, Mattheus Bril (1550 – 1583), these Antwerp born painters were influential landscape artists. They are also described as capriccio painters (whims or fancies) or vedute ideate otherwise known as, veduta di fantasia, with typical rustic hills amongst ancient ruins. Mattheus began work on several frescoes in Rome from 1570 onwards, and his work includes the Vatican's, Seasons. Mattheus died young though, and Paul continued his work after 1574.

Paul Bril painted frescoes, such as the landscapes in the Casino Rospigliosi in Rome, and The Roman Forum, which showed this site for what it had become: a slum for squatters and pasture for livestock. His masterpiece is often considered to be a fresco in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican. His work now in the Uffizi Gallery is, Landscape with Hunters.

Paul also did engravings and small cabinet paintings on copper, some of which are signed with a pair of spectacles (a pun on the French word brilles, "spectacles"). Some of these were collaborations with Johann Rottenhammer (1564 – 1625), who according to a dealer's letter of 1617 painted the figures in Venice and then sent the plates to Rome for Bril to complete the landscape. He collaborated with his friend Adam Elsheimer (1578 – 1610), who he both influenced and was influenced by. Elsheimer was himself a highly influential landscape painter.

The artist, Agostino Tassi (1578 – 1644) may have trained with Paul Bril and later became the master of the French landscape painter, Claude Lorrain (1600 – 1682). The Brill Brothers form one of the links between the panoramic views of the Flemish painter Joachim Patenier (1480 – 1524) and the ideal landscapes evolved by Nicolas Poussin (1594 – 1665) and Claude Lorrain.

(This text is taken from the entry on Paul Bril, available under GNU Free Documentation license.)

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