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Landscape with Flight into Egypt

Pieter Breughel the Elder1563

The Courtauld Institute of Art

The Courtauld Institute of Art
London, United Kingdom

The story of the Holy Family fleeing persecution in Bethlehem is transposed to an imaginary Northern European landscape, above a river valley bordered by craggy peaks. The dramatic setting enhances the religious narrative. The idol tumbling from its shrine in a pollarded willow (to the right of Mary) symbolises the defeat of paganism at the birth of Christ. Bruegel painted this for a major patron, Cardinal Perronot de Granvelle. It was later owned by the artist Peter Paul Rubens.

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