Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus - Breugel

Pieter Breugel

This piece of art, “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus” painted by Pieter Breugel looks phenomenal with its . The first objects I notice are the islands and boats in the sea, then the sky and the sun that seems to brightens up everything in the painting. There are also three men in the painting. One who is working with his bull, a shepherd and another near the waters. As I look through the whole painting I try to find Icarus drowning. I notice that I have to zoom in real close to see that Icarus is drowning near one of the man that is bending down towards the water on the bottom right hand corner. Icarus’s feathers is scattered all over the place while he is drowning. Now what’s strange is that his legs are the ones that stick out, so he must have fell straight into the water. It’s strange because no one seems to notice Icarus at all. The man near the water, doesn’t do anything but bends towards the water and seems to just try to reach into the water with his right arm. The whole painting seems out of place and Icarus is unnoticed by everything in the painting.

Now the setting of the painting seems to be ironic because it seems to be a bright sunny day but someone is drowning to their death. The horizon shows that the sun is either rising or setting. I can see that Breugel uses a bright yellow and orange color for the sun. As the sun is either rising or setting, this raises a question for the clouds. Are the clouds rolling in or out for the sun? Also, even though the mountains along the side of the painting seems to isolate everything, the clouds are either making the mountains dark or the sun is making them bright. I also notice that Icarus is drowning in the dark waters. Though, when the water seems dark, isn’t it shallow waters. I believe that maybe if Icarus could turn into an upright position he might have been able to survive.

Although the setting is a mystery, what makes the painting a mystery is the islands, boats, and even trees. There seems to be two islands; one that has a dungeon or castle above and another that is pretty much plain. The castle or dungeon has a dark black entrance, I wonder why there would be a castle or dungeon built on an island. There is also another island that seems to have a village that resides on it. Though there are no one that is drawn onto the boats and the big city, it seems as if it was just one huge sea port trade. By counting the boats there are at least seven boats in the waters just sailing around. I think the painter is just sitting from one village’s point of view and notices the fall of Icarus. Most likely there is another village from where the painter is painting from. There are workers and herders. In total there are only three men. One who is what seems to be remaking the road with his bull. The shepherd brings a great mystery. The shepherd looks up to the sky, not paying attention to the sheeps at all. Why does he look up to the sky, the only person that will know is him and the painter I guess.

The title “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus,” means that this whole painting wasn’t just focused on the falling of Icarus. It is also about the landscape and the whole view the painter had during the time he was painting. I believe that maybe Icarus fell after he began painting. Then again, if the painter notices that an “angel” has fallen out of the sky why does he not do a thing to help the poor Icarus from drowning. The landscape means the mountain side, setting of the scene, which position the sun is beaming from and the environment of the whole scene at the time. What adds to the mysticality is that an angel has fallen out of the sky and into the waters but no one notices him drowning, not even the man who is closest to him.

I believe the painting was drawn from a location far awat from the big city and was started before Icarus fell from the heavenly sky. I still can’t believe how Icarus is unnoticable to almost everything. It was also very hard to find Icarus as well in the painting though. Before zooming in and giving it a thought that it might be Icarus, I thought it was something different other than a human being who is drowning.

In conclusion, the painting’s title emphasizes that it’s the ‘landscape’ with the fall of Icarus. So because the title is this I believe that maybe the painting was worked on before Icarus fell from the sky into the sea. It seems that Icarus was just worked into the painting. I wonder if the painting was almost done before and then Icarus comes falling down, then the painter started painting again to complete that area of the painting. What if Breugel paints Icarus falling down from the sky instead of in the waters. I think that the painter, Breugel came when he saw Icarus in the water, kicking his legs into the air trying to get his head above water but his wings probably weighed him down. As a result, he ended up painting all of that instead.

1 comment:

Son N6 said...

This was a pain! I added this assignment into my portfolio because this is my first time writing about an image and actually put meaning into words, "a picture is worth a thousand words". This actually turned out to be a fun experiment in the end. I have never learned about who or what many of these mythological names were such as Dedalus and Icarus, Sisyphus, etc., but after writing about what this painting meant to me, I felt that I was able to see through the artists' eyes. Truly a great technique that I've learned throughout this class.