A masterpiece by Breughel regains its colours!

16th of November 2018

Thanks to restoration work financed by the Baillet Latour Fund, “Dulle Griet” (or “Mad Meg”) by Pierre Brueghel the Elder, has regained all the richness of its original colours. This masterpiece is one of the centrepieces of a Breughel retrospective exhibition at the Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna.

For a year and a half, “Dulle Griet” – or “Mad Meg” – has been undergoing restoration. It is thanks to support from the Baillet Latour Fund that this important masterpiece has been able to be studied and restored. The Fund has as its objective to preserve and promote important pieces of Belgian heritage. The King Baudouin Foundation puts its expertise at the disposition of the Fund to manage its annual call for projects and select the projects to be supported.

Following the removal of several layers of yellowed varnish and later overpainting, the colours have now recovered all of their former brilliance. The scientific study conducted by the IRPA, has thrown up several important discoveries. It is how, for example, we now know that it was not Breughel who gave the title ‘Dull’ to the painting. In reality, and in several places on the panel, there are inscriptions and scratches, whether added deliberately or not. After cleaning, the date of completion also appeared more clearly, and we learned that the work had been painted in 1563 and not 1561, as believed for a long time.

If you are curious to see more, then head to Vienna, to the Kunsthistorische Museum, where “Dulle Griet” is one of the centrepieces of the Breughel retrospective, which marks the start of a year-long commemoration of the artist. In 1919, Breughel will be in the spotlight to mark the 450th anniversary of his death. Meg will return to Antwerp in the spring of 2019, where everyone can admire her at the Mayer van den Bergh Museum.