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      Painting from Life Nature's Unpredictable Menagerie

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          Abstract

          Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568–1625). The Entry of the Animals into Noah's Ark (1613). Oil on panel (54.6 cm × 83.8 cm). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California, USA (92.P8.82). Courtesy of the J. Paul Getty Museum "On his journeys Bruegel did many views from nature, so it was said of him when he traveled through the Alps that he had swallowed all the mountains and rocks and spat them out again, after his return, onto his canvases and panels, so closely was he able to follow nature here and in his other works" ( 1 ). This brilliant legacy, become familial burden, framed the life and work of Jan Brueghel the Elder, Pieter Bruegel's1 son, and his sons after him. Always measured against the original, "Peasant" Bruegel, descendants in this legendary family held their own, each making a mark, all painstakingly distinguishing themselves through the choice of subject matter and niceties of style. Jan Brueghel hardly knew his father. Orphaned soon after his birth in Brussels, he studied with Pieter Goctkind and Gillis van Coninxloo in Antwerp, learned watercolor painting from his grandmother Mayken Verhulst, and flourished under the patronage of great collector Cardinal Federigo Borromeo in Rome and Milan. Although he grew up copying his father's works, he was influenced little by them or those of his brother, Pieter Brueghel the Younger, called "Hell" Brueghel for his fiery depictions of afterlife ( 2 ). Art in the Low Countries during the 1600s was dominated by the Brueghel family, who worked in Antwerp amidst political and social change. The spread of humanism affected popular tastes, favoring mythological over religious themes in the visual arts. And with commissions by the church, court, and nobility on the decline, painting specialties (genre, still life, landscape) appealing to patrons of more modest means became popular. The Brueghels so excelled in the new specialties that they created a trend for their generation, a bridge between the technical refinement of Flemish primitive art and the expansive imagination seen later in the work of Peter Paul Rubens and his followers ( 3 ). Jan became known as "Flower" Brueghel, even though he started painting flowers late in his career. Tulips, hyacinths, marigolds, nasturtiums, and sunflowers were as new in Europe as the artistic genre they embellished. With a modern insistence on painting from nature, the artist traveled far to find flora for his lush scenes. Botanical specimens of various seasons often appeared together in bucolic Eden-like scenes that earned him another name, "Paradise" Brueghel. As was the custom, figures in his scenes were sometimes painted by other artists. Rubens, a close friend, was a frequent collaborator, as with Madonna in a Wreath of Flowers for which Brueghel painted the iconic wreath. Jan Brueghel II (1601–1678) and Ambrosius Brueghel (1617–1675) continued the tradition of flower still life long after their father's death of cholera in Antwerp. Jan Brueghel painted on various media, among them copper, an innovation learned during his tenure in Italy and exploited to full advantage in hundreds of paintings. The smoothness of copper allowed the brush to glide on the surface without the interruption or absorption characteristic of wood or canvas surfaces. Close-up forms were painted with visible brushstrokes of thick paint, distant ones with fluid, thinly diluted paint. Even the minutest figures in the artist's tightly structured compositions were distinguishable ( 4 ). Meticulous attention to detail and ability to control the brush and create surfaces of exquisite refinement and sheen earned Jan his most common name, "Velvet" Brueghel. The Entry of Animals into Noah's Ark, on this month's cover, was methodically assembled. The sprawling backdrop was filled with detailed vegetation, for which the artist had become famous and which secured his legacy during his lifetime. The scene teemed with nature's creatures, domestic and wild, from the tiniest to the most imposing, painted from life at Infanta Isabella's menagerie of exotic animals in Brussels ( 5 ). Reminiscent of other Jan Brueghel paintings of animals in nature, the tableau reflected the interest and curiosity about natural history sparked by discovery of the New World and its exotic plant and animal life. Affection and concern for animals were also central to ark lore and its countless interpretations. When biblical balance and harmony broke down and precipitated the flood, animals were invited to the ark, as if world survival would have been unthinkable without them. Assembled in this unreal scene in their most realistic attire, they seemed unaware of the importance of the occasion. Oblivious to the clouds building in the horizon, many strayed from the shepherded line moving toward the ark in the far distance. Distracted, churlish, and unruly, they seized a moment of human inattention to wander off into mayhem. Jan Brueghel's rendition of biblical survival seems allegorical of emerging zoonoses. As in this animal-human gathering, in nature, balance and harmony are imperiled by irregularity or unpredictable biological behavior for which no host defenses are immediately available. And like shepherding skills, existing protective mechanisms can be overwhelmed by unexpected turns. Biological and social systems and infrastructures prove inadequate against new agents and modes of transmission and demand new measures and approaches; among them, multisector alliances able to bridge the gap in public health response between recognition and control of new hazards to humans and animals ( 6 , 7 ). Above all, closely following nature, proven to make better art, also makes better defense against emerging diseases.

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          Role of Multisector Partnerships in Controlling Emerging Zoonotic Diseases

          This issue marks the second time that an issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases has been devoted to zoonotic diseases; the first zoonoses issue was published 1 year ago, in December 2004. The publication of this second theme issue attests to the frequency, visibility, and attention that these diseases are receiving. A year ago, we (Figures 1, 2, 3) commented on several prevailing factors worldwide that facilitate the emergence of zoonotic infectious diseases, among them a growing human population, increased interaction between species, global climate changes, and rapid movement of people and animals ( 1 ). These factors continue to exert their influence, and we continue to see a plethora of emerging zoonotic infectious diseases. Figure 1 Photo of Nina Marano. Dr Marano is the associate director of veterinary public health in the Division of Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases, CDC. She is responsible for promoting multisector partnerships to enhance detection, prevention, management, and control of emerging zoonotic diseases. Figure 2 Photo of Paul Arguin. Dr Arguin is the acting chief of the Geographic Medicine and Health Promotion Branch and the zoonoses team leader in the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, CDC. The team's mission is to prevent the introduction of zoonotic diseases into the country through imported animals and animal products. Figure 3 Photo of Marguerite Pappaioanou. Dr Pappaioanou is professor of infectious disease epidemiology in the School of Public Health with a joint appointment in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota. Her areas of interest are in emerging zoonotic infectious diseases, with a special interest in influenza viruses and in collaborative efforts that bridge public health and domestic animal and wildlife health sectors that address emerging zoonotic infectious diseases. In their book Beasts of the Earth: Animals, Humans, and Disease, Torrey and Yolken point out that domestic and international public health and animal health agencies have a long history of poor coordination and little effort to bridge the gulf between these 2 professional worlds ( 2 ). The authors suggest that we must learn to cooperate if we are to effectively combat emerging microbial threats. In the past year, improved cooperation has been evident. We have observed early detection and response to several important zoonotic diseases threatening the public's health. These responses were made possible by several strategic partnerships across human and animal health sectors—partnerships that have been long in the making. As this issue goes to press, the year has been bracketed by several major natural disasters in 2 hemispheres—the tsunami in Southeast Asia, hurricanes in North America, and the earthquake in Pakistan and India. These events underscore the fragility of our society and the importance of working in partnerships to effectively protect and promote the health of all persons in challenging times. In the United States, understanding the potential threat for zoonotic disease outbreaks in natural disaster settings, local and state agencies and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have worked in partnership with nongovernmental and other federal agencies to augment surveillance systems to allow for early detection and response to potential rodent- and insect-borne infectious disease threats ( 3 ). In between these events, the world detected and responded to a range of emerging microbial threats from all corners of the animal kingdom, including wildlife, captive wildlife in zoos, domestic poultry and livestock, and pet animals ( 4 ). Recurring reports have shown that H5N1 avian influenza in Southeast Asia is moving into eastern Europe, and scientists are concerned that this virus could rapidly move across geographic regions through poultry, animal husbandry, and wild bird migration ( 5 , 6 ). Outbreaks of Escherichia coli have been detected in petting zoos ( 7 ). Lymphocytic choriomeningitis and West Nile virus have been transmitted through organ transplantation, and outbreaks of Salmonella spp. have been traced back to pet rodents ( 8 – 10 ). The world also witnessed the remarkable survival of a young woman with rabies in Wisconsin ( 11 ). The articles in this special themed issue reflect emergence and reemergence of a wide array of known zoonotic pathogens, including lyssavirus, hantavirus, Rift Valley fever, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Echinococcus spp., norovirus, Nipah virus, and Bartonella spp., as well as pathogens for which the potential for spread to humans is yet unknown, such as canine influenza virus and phocine distemper virus ( 12 – 14 ). How should we respond to these emerging disease challenges? This year has brought about renewed, and at times unprecedented, collaborations and partnerships to confront these health challenges. Wildlife, animal agriculture, and public health agencies worked together, often for the first time. They developed surveillance plans for monitoring wild birds for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), provided guidance for safely handling wild birds during these monitoring efforts, and created a comprehensive plan to combat avian flu in Southeast Asia. Such partnerships also facilitated collection of human and wild bird specimens for HPAI H5N1 surveillance in Southeast Asia, use of a survey instrument to evaluate state animal health–human health communication and coordination, and collaborations with industry for recommendations for safely handling pet rodents (15, N. Marano (Figure 1), unpub. data). However, we need to respond further by calling for more multidisciplinary, integrated research that identifies the causes and factors leading to the emergence of zoonotic diseases and explores how to effectively prevent and control them ( 16 ). Avian influenza, in particular, has shown the importance of this research, as the results are vital to the health of both human and animal populations. In 2006 we look forward to strengthening and nurturing essential collaborations between organization to improve human and animal health. One step will be the International Symposium on Emerging Zoonoses, organized by the World Animal Health Organization and CDC, to be held in Atlanta in March 2006. This past year we have begun to come together. Let us do everything we can to continue in this direction, and the reward will be success in protecting and promoting human and animal health through effectively confronting zoonotic infectious diseases. This theme issue is an important component in this process.
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            Author and article information

            Journal
            Emerg Infect Dis
            Emerging Infect. Dis
            EID
            Emerging Infectious Diseases
            Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
            1080-6040
            1080-6059
            December 2005
            : 11
            : 12
            : 1991-1992
            Affiliations
            [* ]Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
            Author notes
            Address for correspondence: Polyxeni Potter, EID Journal, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd, Mailstop D61, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA; email: PMP1@ 123456cdc.gov
            Article
            AC-1112
            10.3201/eid1112.AC1112
            3367658
            22289718
            Categories
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