Sight by Jan Brueghel and Peter Paul Rubens

Essay by giaZCollege, UndergraduateA+, March 2004

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In this essay, I will explore the famous work, Sight, an extraordinary oil painting created by Jan Brueghel and Peter Paul Rubens in 1618. Considered among the most

complex, compromising allegorical pieces, Sight is painted with great accuracy and detail. Shown in the form of a magnificent chamber of art and wonder, like a walk

through a long gallery flooded by sunlight, Sight stimulates the mind's visual perception with its animated images and intellectual aura.

Many are unaware that this masterpiece is also a collaborative effort of two painters, each respectfully famed for their classically Flemish Baroque styles. Jan

Brueghel, the father of his accomplice, Peter Paul Rubens, was curiously aroused by a variety of natural objects including flowers, fruits, landscapes and human activity, all coincidentally featured in Sight. Peter Paul Rubens, a scholar in training, worked for the Habsburgs, a prominent Austrian family of rulers to whom they dedicated the original print.

Like his father, Rubens created movement in his paintings by merging drama and intense emotion with dramatic lighting and rich realism.

When analyzing Sight under the collective term S.I.P.H (style, iconography,purpose, and historical position), this grand piece of artwork proves its value in many ways. Brueghel and Rubens's style in Sight is very expressionistic, classical of the Baroque/Rococo period of which it stems. The charisma of the images is undoubtedly present, yet so subtly elusive to the painting's meaning of visual aestheticism. Initially, it seems there is so space in this painting, but beyond the crowded room we see a majestic landscape and open sky, creating beautiful balance for the crowded foreground. As for Sight's iconography, it is immense and powerful, to say the least. Every image serves as a representation for some facet of truth and beauty which lies solely inside the human eye...