The J. Paul Getty Museum

The Sermon on the Mount

Object Details


The Sermon on the Mount


Jan Brueghel the Elder (Flemish, 1568 - 1625)






Oil on copper

Object Number:



26.7 × 36.8 cm (10 1/2 × 14 1/2 in.)

See more

See less

Object Description

In this small painting, the figure of Christ is almost lost amid the dense, multi-colored crowd. Identified by a pale yellow halo, Christ stands on a rustic podium near the crowd's center. He presents his sermon on the conditions of blessedness. Behind Christ, his disciples pay rapt attention, but many in the diverse throng prefer to socialize with one another. In the foreground, a gnarled gypsy tells fortunes and a vendor sells pretzels. To the right, below a distant vista, a man in a long coat and dark hat directs two women in elegant gowns toward the crowd.
Jan Brueghel the Elder painted this festive scene on a thin sheet of copper. The work's bright colors, fine details, and enamel-like finish are accentuated by the hard copper support. Brueghel's unmatched ability to describe figures and landscape in great detail transforms the painting into a jewel-like object intended for close scrutiny.

- 1935

Private Collection (Vienna, Austria), sold to David Goldman, 1935.

1935 -

David Goldman, Austrian (New York, New York), by inheritance to a private collector.

- 1984

Private Collection (New York, New York) [sold, Sotheby's, New York, April 19, 1984, lot 44, to Noortman & Brod, Ltd.]


Noortman & Brod, Ltd. (New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.

Die Jüngeren Brueghel und ihr Kreis (1935)
  • Pieter de Boer Kunsthandel (Amsterdam), 1935
  • Galerie Sanct Lucas (Vienna), 1935
Rubens and Brueghel: A Working Friendship / Rubens en Brueghel: Een artistieke vriendschap (July 5, 2006 to January 28, 2007)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), July 5 to September 24, 2006

Die jüngeren Brueghel und ihr Kreis, exh. cat. (Vienna: Josef Schwarz, 1935), p. 18, no. 25, pl. 6.

Ertz, Klaus. Jan Brueghel der Ältere 1568-1625: Die Gemälde mit kritischem Oeuvrekatalog (Cologne: DuMont Buchverlag, 1979), pp. 90, 92, 429, 431-32, 566, no. 53, pl. 519.

Welu, James A. The Collector's Cabinet: Flemish Paintings from New England Private Collections, exh. cat. (Worcester: Worcester Art Museum, 1983), p. 35n6.

Art at Auction: The Year at Sotheby's, 1983-1984 (London and New York: Sotheby Publications, 1984), p. 24, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B. "Recent Acquisitions of Paintings: The J. Paul Getty Museum." Burlington Magazine 127, no. 985 (April 1985), p. 261.

"Acquisitions/1984." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 13 (1985), pp. 206-7, no. 129, ill.

Noortman & Brod advertisement. Burlington Magazine 127, no. 985 (April 1985), p. iii, ill.

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

Kolb, Arianne Faber. Jan Brueghel the Elder: The Entry of the Animals into Noah's Ark (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2005), pp. 41-42, 44 ill.

Woollett, Anne T., and Ariane van Suchtelen, eds. Rubens and Brueghel: A Working Friendship, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, with Waanders, 2006), pp. 186-91, ill.

Honig, Elizabeth Alice. "Exhibition Reviews: Rubens and Brueghel: Los Angeles and The Hague." Burlington Magazine 148, no. 1244 (November 2006), p. 789.

Ertz, Klaus. Jan Brueghel der Ältere (1568-1625): Kritischer Katalog der Gemälde. Vol. 2, Landschaften mit christlichen Themen; Mythologie, Kat. 183-419 (Lingen: Luca Verlag, 2008-10), pp. 554-57, 558-59, no. 259, ill.

Prosperetti, Leopoldine van Hogendorp. Landscape and Philosophy in the Art of Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568-1625) (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009), pp. 134-36, fig. 5.5.

Woollett, Anne T. "Jan Brueghel d. Ä. und die Kunst der Zusammenarbeit." In Brueghel: Gemälde von Jan Brueghel D.Ä., exh. cat. Mirjam Neumeister, ed. (Munich: Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, with Hirmer, 2013), p. 62n21.

Honig, Elizabeth Alice. Jan Brueghel and the Senses of Scale (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2016), pp. 149-55, 217n82, 219, fig. 120.