Some of the best know Flemish painters of the 16th Century were the Brueghel family, a dynasty of painters including Pieter the elder, his sons Pieter the Younger and Jan the Elder, along with Jan’s son, Jan the Younger and grandson Abraham. Jan the Elder was a painter of Landscapes and still-life work of Flowers, as well as allegorical and religious subjects. He famously collaborated with other artists, such as Peter Paul Rubens (1577 – 1640), who painted figures in his landscapes.
His works in the Uffizi Gallery include, Landscape with a Ford, (or River Crossing) and a Copy after Albrecht Dürer Calvary, of the 16th Century German master Albrecht Dürer (1471 – 1528). His landscapes sometimes included religious figures or subjects, such as, The Animals Entering the Ark, from 1615, and his many lush representations of the Garden of Eden. His allegorical pieces were unique and highly detailed representations of the senses, such as hearing, sight and taste, some entirely still-life, others depicting human and mythological characters. He became more focused on pure landscapes and still-life paintings later in life, for which he received much praise.
He had several nicknames endeared to him, including, Velvet Brueghel, Flower Brueghel and Paradise Brueghel. Velvet was the recognition of his fashionable taste in Velvet cloth, where flower recognized his still life pieces and paradise was born of his popular representations for the Garden of Eden. Among contemporaries such as Gillis van Coninxloo (1544 – 1607) and Paul Bril (1554 – 1626), Brueghel’s legacy was strong, finding influence in his sons and grandsons, as well as later centuries.