The Minister of Culture, Ángeles González-Sinde, today presided over a plenary session of the Royal Board of Trustees of the Museo del Prado
in which it was unanimously decided to exercise the option to purchase The Wine of Saint Martins Day, an autograph work by Peter Bruegel the Elder.
The Wine of Saint Martins Day will join the Museums collections once the purchase option has been formalised for the sum of 7 million Euros at which it has been valued.
On 23 September the Minister announced the discovery of this previously unknown work by Bruegel the Elder, a key figure in 16th-century Flemish painting. It was attributed to the artist by the Museo del Prado following various months of study and restoration at the Museum.
The reappearance of this painting can be considered a major discovery for the history of art. Pieter Bruegel the Elder, the new Bosch as he was known in his day, is the most important figure within 16th-century Flemish painting. Celebrated in his own lifetime, following his early death in 1569 his small output (of which only works executed in the decade between 1557 and 1568 now survive) was obsessively pursued by collectors.
The identification of The Wine of Saint Martins Day as a work by Pieter Bruegel the Elder is one of the most important discoveries of recent years with regard to the work of this great painter, who surpassed even Quintin Massys and Joachim Patinir, with whom he formed the group of the three leading Flemish painters of the century. This is a unique work, both regard to its subject and the way in which Bruegel resolved the composition. This fact, combined with the very small number of surviving autograph works by the artist (numbering forty prior to the reappearance of the present painting) means that its discovery is of exceptional importance and international interest.