All four designs here reflect Jan Brueghel's love and facility for the execution of every minutiae - the compositions are filled with fascinating and charming details, from the flying fish in the Allegory of Water and the variety of exotic birds in the Allegory of Air, to the guinea pigs in the Allegory of the Earth, and the still-life of arms and armour in the Allegory of Fire.
1 Inv. nos A-74-77; see K. Ertz, Jan Brueghel der Ältere (1568–1625), Lingen 2008–10, vol. III, pp. 1038–40, 1044–45, 1052–55 and 1061–65, cat. nos 491, 495, 501 and 507, all reproduced.
2 Inv. nos 322, 328, 332 and 348; see Ertz 2008–10, pp. 1041, 1046–48, 1055 and 1065, cat. nos 493, 497, 502 and 508, all reproduced.
3 Inv. no. 815; see Ertz 2008–10, p. 1080 and 1082, cat. no. 518, reproduced in colour.
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