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Bruegel: Triumph of Death September 28, 2016

Posted by anagasto in art, drawing, painting.
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The armies of the dead are advancing. In the background ships are sinking, houses are burning, and people are getting hanged:

Up in the air, on those wheels the dead and the dying are being fed to the birds.

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Everywhere the dead advance against those who are still alive, but have  become  killers too.

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This is from the lower left corner of the painting: everybody trying to kill everybody else.

In military art this would be called a mêlée.

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This is the most famous detail of the painting: the old tired horse pulling a cart full of skulls and mindlessly killing a few people that happened to be in its way.

In the background you see the proverbial millstone dangling from the neck of a man about to be thrown overboard and another one floating dead in the water.

What  instrument is being played by the skeleton that sits on the cart?

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The picture of the painting is in public domain according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Thetriumphofdeath.jpg

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Little is known about Bruegel, and he is not often mentioned as one of the great painters.

He died at the age of 44 in 1569. He had worked in Antwerp and  Brussels.

Maybe it is true that he used to go incognito to some wedding to gather ideas for his paintings. He saw  people and even children as brutes, dull, sinister.

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Bruegel was sometimes afraid of political persecution. A painting like this Triumph of Death is not Christian in its outlook, and at the time the legendary Spanish Inquisition was active in his country.

The Netherlands were part of the Spanish Empire.

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Source:

The Triumph of Death is at the Prado Museum in Madrid and also in their great collection online at http://www.museodelprado.es/coleccion/   but  their  search is poorly figured out and very slow.

Prado_Museum,_Madrid_3

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Comments»

1. Carl D'Agostino - January 18, 2013

The art is ethereal but his mind unfathomable.

2. cantueso - January 20, 2013

Must not be so ethereal, since US tourists in Madrid and US readers on this blog love it, though they prefer Bruegel’s Proverbs, which I dislike but consider typical, because many of his paintings seem to reflect ideas suggested by language (not by any visual experience).

3. sabpalmares - March 14, 2014

was this Pieter Bruegel the eldest work? I love his ” fall of Icarus” work. love how he present his colors and there is always a story to look at :)

4. komarovstyle - March 14, 2014

nice art!

5. cantueso - March 14, 2014

to sabpalmares
I think that by now the consensus is that “The Fall of Icarus” is not by any of the Bruegels.
There are 3 or 4 Bruegels, and they all did very similar stories, so that there is lots of erudite talk.
Yes, it is nice if there is a story. In Spain there was one (I forgot his name again) who did abstract, but of the single determination kind, of the kind that could have been painted by a cat, and beside the painting, at a show, he put a text by Heidegger.
Really!


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