The National Gallery of Art has acquired “Wooded Landscape With Travelers,” a 1610 oil painting by Jan Brueghel the Elder. Brueghel was the son of Pieter Bruegel the Elder (consistent spelling of names was not quite a thing yet) and is especially known for his flower still lifes and garland paintings, but he honed his eye for natural detail while studying in Naples, Rome, and Milan before returning to Antwerp.
“Wooded Landscape With Travelers” depicts a rustic scene in the Flemish countryside, with farmers, drovers, and a dog chasing ducks along a road with a city far off in the distance. Brueghel uses a neat color scheme to enhance the perspective—life is blue far off in the mist, green in the middle distance, and brown up close—and does a particularly nice rendering of plant life near and far. It joins two other Brueghel works in the NGA collection. The gallery is currently closed due to the rampaging pandemic; a spokesperson for the museum says curators plan to put “Wooded Landscape With Travelers” on view at some point after the gallery reopens.
But you can look at it now (here’s a higher-resolution image) and, if you like, spend a few minutes imagining yourself in Brueghel’s reality rather than the one you’re currently experiencing.