In Bruegel’s most famous drawing—The Painter and the Connoisseur, one of the masterpieces held by the Albertina—the artist makes a theme of art production itself: he confronts viewers with the serious, intellectual work of the painter, in response to which a purported art connoisseur can do nothing but gape perplexedly and reach into his purse. In this work, art meets with the incomprehension of the buyer and of society at large.
Pieter Bruegel the Elder is one of the 16th century’s foremost draughtsmen. Even during his lifetime, his drawings enjoyed the greatest popularity and were coveted collector’s items—with many also being reproduced as copperplate prints and widely disseminated. His audience consisted not of the peasants who so often populated his pictures, but rather of the educated elite.
The Painter and The Buyer is a 1565 pen and ink on brown paper painting by Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The alternative title is The Artist and The Connoisseur.
The painter is thought to be a self portrait of Pieter Bruegel the Elder.
The artist holds a paint brush in his right hand, on the left past the viewer, presumably to the object he paints A second man looks over his shoulder at the resulting picture. This work is for the viewer, however, face down. Bruegel is limited entirely to the presentation of two dissimilar men: the painter drawn in detail with disheveled hair, bushy eyebrows and unkempt beard, and the more vague outline reproduced viewer behind him with pince-nez, unsightly nose and mouth slightly open.
It is uncertain whether the painter is a self portrait of Bruegel, as is often assumed, or conceivably a portrait of Hieronymus Bosch.
... We do not know if it is a self portrait; it is also possible that it is a portrait of Hieronymus Bosch whose work had impressed the young Bruegel who had made a series of drawings in the fantasy style of Bosch.
[google translation of text at https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peintre_et_acheteur]