Jan Brueghel the Elder; 1568 – 13 January 1625) was a Flemish painter, nicknamed "Velvet" Brueghel, "Flower" Brueghel, and "Paradise" Brueghel, of which the latter two were derived from his floral still lifes and paradise landscapes, while the former may refer to the velveteen sheen of his colors.
Jan was born in Brussels. After the death of his parents, he and his brother probably went to live with their grandmother Mayken Verhulst. She was an artist in her own right, and possibly served as the first teacher of the two boys. Jan Brueghel moved to Antwerp around 1583.
In about 1589 Jan traveled to Italy, probably via Cologne. There he resided first in Naples, where his patron was Francesco Carracciolo. Next he moved to Rome, working for several discerning cardinals. It was in the company of Borromeo that Brueghel left Rome and took up residence in Milan, where he was part of a Cardinal's household. In the summer of 1596 he returned to Antwerp, where he remained for the rest of his life apart from short journeys to Prague and to the Dutch Republic.
While in Italy he applied himself principally to landscapes and history paintings, including Biblical narratives and scenes from mythology and ancient history. Back in Antwerp he continued these types of subject matter but also acquired considerable reputation by his flower paintings and allegories. He formed a style more independent of his father's than did his brother Pieter the Younger.
Many of his paintings are collaborations in which figures by other painters were placed in landscapes painted by Jan Brueghel; in other cases, Brueghel painted the figures into another artist's landscape or architectural interior.
He had a studio in Antwerp, where he died from cholera on 13 January 1625.