A trainee discovers a hidden Brueghel engraving


The hidden work was a version of Patience by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Photo: The Met

An intern from the Royal Library of Belgium discovered a hidden engraving on the back of an engraving of one of Pieter Brueghel the Elder’s works.

Margaux Nogues, 23, was cleaning Operation Stone an engraving of Brueghel’s work from 1559 made by Hieronymus de Cock, during her internship when she removed a piece of cardboard backing from the over 400 year old engraving, the institute said in a press release.

“When I took it off, I discovered another work on the back: a second engraving by Brueghel, Nogues told Belgian television channel RTFB.

The second engraving was from the work of Brueghel Patience, a 1557 work depicting the personification of the virtue Patience, who is surrounded by monsters that represent evil and sin. Born in what is now North Brabant, Pieter Brueghel the Elder is considered the most important artist of the Dutch and Flemish Renaissance.

Both prints are thought to be the work of De Cock. The museum describes the find as “highly unusual”, as the type of printing used was uncommon in the 16th century.

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