Generally considered the greatest Flemish painter of the 16th century, Pieter Brueghel was the first in a family of painters. He was probably born in Breda in the Duchy Brabant, which is now the Netherlands. He was accepted as a master in the Antwerp painters’ guild in 1551 and apprenticed under Coecke van Aelst, a leading Antwerp sculptor, architect and designer of stained glass and tapestry.
In 1551, Brueghel traveled to Italy, where he completed a number of paintings, mostly landscapes. He moved to Brussels permanently in 1563 and married van Aelst’s daughter, Mayken. Brueghel died in Brussels in 1569.