Spain's Prado puts rediscovered Bruegel painting on display

12th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Spain's Prado museum on Monday put on display for the first time a canvas painted by the 16th-century Flemish master Pieter Bruegel the Elder which was discovered last year.

The painting, The Wine of St Martin's Day, shows about 100 peasants, beggars, thieves and drunks all struggling to get some of the wine from the first barrel of the season.

In September 2010 curators at the Madrid museum identified the canvas as having been painted by the artist after an X-ray revealed fragments of his signature at the bottom of the painting.

The owners of the work, unidentified Spanish collectors, had brought the painting to the museum to be restored and had no idea it was a Bruegel.

The Prado bought the piece -- only the 41st known signed painting by the artist -- at the end of last year for 7.0 million euros ($9.4 million).

Painted in tempera on linen, it is one of his biggest known works, measuring 148 centimetres by 270.5 centimetres (4 feet 10 inches by 8 feet 10 inches).

It will remain on display at the museum until March 25, 2012 alongside an X-ray of the work and a video explaining how it was restored.

The Prado has just one other painting by Bruegel the Elder, entitled The Triumph of Death.

© 2011 AFP

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