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Bruegel: The Way to Calvary March 5, 2016

Posted by anagasto in art, Bible, painting, Spain.
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It is a typical Bruegel. The subject of the painting is not immediately apparent.  Unless you are told where to look, you would not discover Jesus falling under his cross in the center of the picture. The execution will take place way up on the horizon to the right where there is a ring of spectators waiting around two crosses. —

There are some 500 little people represented, each defined out as to movement, clothes, age, and even reason for being there.

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http://artboom.info/painting/painting-classics/painting-classics-pieter-bruegel-the-elder.html

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Next to Jesus there are two men sitting in a cart drawn by an old horse. They have been sentenced to die along with Jesus. There is a monch beside each of them trying to help him face his imminent and final journey.

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Executions were public and festive all through history until less than 200 years ago. Even children were allowed. There was nothing shameful about the law as there is now in many places.

It was cruel, but for all to see.

Apparently those wheels were used to let the birds deal with the dying or dead convicts.

The pictures are from http://artboom.info/painting/painting-classics/painting-classics-pieter-bruegel-the-elder.html.

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The problematic Holy Week processions in Spain

They have become a tourist event, and the strangest and most questionable artwork reaches audiences all over the world.

But the same processions also take place in just any little town or village and are impressive. So here is a photo taken at the beginning of a procession in a typical little town south of Madrid:

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(C) Jaro

There is silence and the excited whisper of people waiting. The drums start up. The silence becomes absolute. These same drums would have accompanied a criminal on his way to the gallows. The drum beat is slow, festive, but somber, sometimes interrupted by a bugle call. And so they walk slowly down the little streets of the old town center.

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Leading a procession:

(C) MAO

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Watching a procession:

(C) MAO

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Added May 2, 2012

1.
That great painting by Bruegel was in a private home in Britain and the owner had to sell it. To prevent it from going abroad the British collected the money.

How much?
Guess.  — Remember that an Andy Warhol recently went for some 200 million.

2.
The Bruegels were a painter family. There is Bruegel the Elder, Bruegel the Younger, and also a Bruegel who was a nephew…and now, if you look up this painting  on Wikipedia, you will see that about half the learned men attribute it to Bruegel the Elder and the other half  think it is by Bruegel the Younger, but there doesn’t even seem to be one of those wonderful academic fights going on! So I am leaving it at just Bruegel.

3.
This painting was part of Napoleon’s war booty! He used to have some discerning minds in his staff.

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Added October 14 2012

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Another photo of a small town preparing for its procession. This photo is from the home page of El Bonillo in Castille La Mancha, Spain.


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Added May 2, 2014

Lech Majewski turned the painting into a film. There is a good trailer at

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_mill_and_the_cross/

bruegel mill and cross trailer 1

bruegel mill and cross trailer

mill and the cross



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Comments»

1. Carl D'Agostino - April 6, 2012

His art is also valuable study in cultural/historical anthropology with its details of people and life of the times.

2. cantueso - April 8, 2012

But those studies are mostly crappy and so tend to spoil the fun. Could you quote an exception? The ones I have seen are awful as to language.


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