Spring has come with the confidence of youth, waking a sleeping earth with warmth and a gentle rain. Deep within the soil, seeds and bulbs felt the energy of a new season and responded with bursts of colour, transforming the landscape. First came the crocuses, daffodils and snowdrops, then the tulips, and now the cherry blossoms.
Winter has slipped away for a time, but I hear Winter’s last song through the lens of artists who cherished the season that gave us warmth by a fire, long evenings of rest, and fun winter activities that persuaded us that cold was not really that cold.
The Brueghel Family, (also spelled Bruegel or Breughel) dominated art in Flanders throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. Their family tree included the who’s who of artists, including Pieter, elder and younger, Jan Brueghel the Younger, Jan Pieter Brueghel, Abraham Brueghel, Philips Brueghel, Ferdinand Brueghel, Jan Baptist Brueghel. Well, you get the idea. The Brueghel family produced the largest number of major painters of all Flemish families.
Whenever I view this painting, I remember the Northern Manitoba train trips taken in the middle of winter. Watching the passing scene of snow covered trees interspersed with jagged rock formations and rushing rivers remains as clear in mind as if it all happened yesterday.
Crossing the Atlantic to St. Louis Missouri, Thomas P. Barnett (1870 –1929), was recognized for his architecture and painting. His architect brilliance is displayed in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, Texas, and the Saint Clement Catholic Church in Chicago. He turned to painting in later life with great success. Which remind us that creativity is a life-long journey.