Paul Bril, Trees at the Edge of a Pool, a pen and ink drawing

Rome, Italy, AD 1609

Landscape with subtle influences from one of the pioneers of landscape painting, Claude Lorrain

This drawing, characteristic of Bril's hand, is drawn in pen and brown ink with brown and grey wash. A flat expanse of landscape is broken up by groups of trees. In the foreground, a clump of trees is reflected in water. Pools of light and dark break up the depth and lead the eye gently into the distance. The hatching in the parallel lines of the clouds and the coloured washes in varying densities, suggest reflections and shadows. A few ducks, grazing cattle and flying birds populate the scene. The only human figures are seen in the gap between the trees in the far left background. The mood of the landscape is calm and poetically idealized.

Bril (1554-1626) signed the drawing at lower left: 'Pa. Bril 1609 In Romae' which implies that he intended it as a separate work of art, rather than as a study for a painting or print. Certainly, the high degree of finish suggests that it is complete in itself. Furthermore, the balanced structure of this scene suggests that it was composed in the studio, rather than drawn from life.

Bril left the Netherlands around 1574 and settled in Rome. He was influential in bringing a northern naturalism to Italian landscape painting. Also living in Rome at this time was the French artist, Claude Lorrain who closely studied Bril's work. Here the trees which both frame the scene and suggest the depth anticipate Claude's poetic landscapes.

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More information


M. Royalton-Kisch, H. Chapman and S. Coppel, Old Master drawings from the M, exh. cat. (London, The British Museum Press, 1996)


Height: 157.000 mm
Width: 225.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1895-9-15-1029



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