I find myself wondering just how he went about painting this canvas. I don’t believe they painted en plein air in the 16th century as they still hadn’t discovered the means of putting paint into tubes, which was what made the whole process portable for the impressionists.
I must assume that this very intricate composition would have been done in the master’s studio.
Would he have gone into the fields with charcoal and paper and done fast sketches? And if so, how many sketches and with what amount of detail?
The figures, both individually at work and together, as they take their lunch under a tree, seem so spontaneous that it’s hard to imagine he would have used models.
And then again, perhaps he knew the landscape, the people and the way of life SO well, that he was able to paint it from memory…
What do YOU think?…
The Corn Harvest by Pieter Breughel the Elder