Pieter Bruegel the Elder, ca. 1525–1569, Flemish
Parable of the Sower, 1557
Oil on panel, 73.7 x 102.9 cm (29 x 40-1/2 in.)

This painting of the parable of the sower from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke is among the earliest signed paintings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, one of the geniuses of Northern European painting.


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Petrus Christus, unkown-1475/76, Flemish 
Death of the Virgin, ca. 1460-65
Oil on oak panel, transferred to mahogany, 73.7 x 102.9 cm
(67-3/8 x 54-1/2 in.)

Petrus Christus is credited with introducing one-point perspective to Northern European painting. He employs the technique in this painting, his largest known work, which originally included two wings, later destroyed during World War II.


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Pieter Claesz., 1596/97-1661
Still Life, 1627
Oil on oak panel, 36.2 x 57.5 cm (14-1/4 x 22-5/8 in.)

Pieter Claesz.'s painting combines two types of still life: "breakfast pieces," or representations of a light meal, and "smokers' requisites," or paraphernalia used by smokers. The simple domestic objects are all shown in perspective and in a limited range of colors.


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Anthony van Dyck, 1599-1641
Mary Villiers, Lady Herbert of Shurland, ca. 1636
Oil on canvas, 101 x 83.8 cm (42 x 33 in.)

This portrait was painted at the request of King Charles I of England, in whose collection it once hung. Lady Mary Viillers (1622-1685), the daughter of George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, was one of the most intriguing individuals connected with the English court.


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Franz Hals, 1581/85-1666
Portrait of a Man, 1634
Oil on oak panel, 73.3 x 56.2 cm (28-7/8 x 22-1/8 in.)

The subject of Franz Hals' portrait is unknown, although the Latin inscription on the painting gives his age as forty-eight. He wears a black doublet, or close-fitting jacket, with a pleated white ruff, and a dark mantle draped over his left shoulder.


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