Landscape with Allegories of the Four Elements

Object Details


Landscape with Allegories of the Four Elements


Jan Brueghel the Younger (Flemish, 1601 - 1678)

Frans Francken the Younger (Flemish, 1581 - 1642)






Oil on panel


52.7 x 81.3 cm (20 3/4 x 32 in.)

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Four seated women representing water, air, earth, and fire are surrounded by a lush landscape. The fish flowing from the water jug and the cornucopia of abundance cradled in the arms of the figure on the right correspond to the tactile elements of water and earth. The birds in the sky and trees and the accoutrements of battle in the foreground correspond to the intangible elements of fire and air. The figures, the still life objects, and the landscape work together as a unified scene, yet two different artists worked to create this painting. Frequent collaborators, the skilled figure painter Frans Francken II painted the women and background figures, and Jan Brueghel the Younger described the landscape.

Such collaboration between artists was common in Antwerp during the 1600s, as artists often specialized in either landscape or figure painting. Flemish artists of the time repeatedly painted representations of the four elements, suggesting that it was a popular subject with buyers. The widely admired Brueghel the Younger depicted the senses, the elements, or the seasons as allegories many times throughout his career, either together or individually, as in the pendant to this painting, Landscape with Ceres (Allegory of Earth).

early 19th century

Zoé-Victoire, Countess of Cayla, died 1848 (Château de Saint-Ouen, France), by inheritance to her daughter, Valentine, 1848.

1848 -

Valentine, Princess of Beauvau-Craon, by inheritance to Marc.

- 1883

Marc, Prince of Beauvau-Craon, 1816 - 1883 (Château de Craon, Meurthe et Moselle, France), by inheritance to Charles Louis, 1883.

1883 - 1942

Charles Louis, Prince of Beauvau-Craon, 1878 - 1942 (Château de Craon, Meurthe et Moselle, France), by inheritance to Marc, 1942.

1942 - 1971

Marc, Prince of Beauvau-Craon, died 1973 (Château de Craon, Meurthe et Moselle, France) [sold, Beauvau-Craon sale, Sotheby's, London, March 24, 1971, lot 98, to the J. Paul Getty Museum.]

Baroque Masters from the J. Paul Getty Museum (February 26 to March 30, 1973) (Cat. 7)
  • California State University, (Northridge), February 26 to March 30, 1973

Sotheby's, London. Catalogue of Important Old Master Paintings. March 24, 1971 p. 48, lot. 98.

Fredericksen, Burton B. Catalogue of the Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1972) p. 65, no. 80.

Baroque Masters from the J. Paul Getty Museum, exh. cat. (Northridge: California State University, 1973) p. 4, no. 7.

Ertz, Klaus. Jan Brueghel der Jüngere (1601-1678): Die Gemälde mit Kritischem Ouevrekatalog (Freren: Luca, 1984) p. 372, no. 207a, ill.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) p. 18, ill.