About Me

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A picture worth 1000 words

When I first took a glimpse at the painting Landscape with the Fall of Icarus by Bruegel, I noticed the little worker wearing the red shirt. The red shirt was the most vibrant color throughout the whole painting. I also noticed the very bright sun in the background. I believe it is nice the way Bruegel made the sky bright and then where all the people are located dark, since it shows how the sun acts as a god while everyone else is just humans. Afterwards, I noticed the sheep with the peasant working and looking up at the sky since it was near the worker in red. In addition, I noticed the sheep that is the close to our view rather than all the other ships and then realizing that the feet in the ocean are Icarus. Just like how Bruegel personifies the sun as a god, he makes the ship block the sunlight from where Icarus has fallen. Next, I noticed the fisherman near Icarus at the bottom right of the picture. After seeing all of the big and bright objects of the picture, I realized the ships in the background along with the two mountains, one located to the left of the picture and one located to the right. In addition, I noticed the town in the back faded out from the picture so that we can’t really notice it. There is also a cave in the middle of the ocean. I have also noticed the colors that Bruegel uses with all his objects and people. For example, the sky is black, pink, and yellowish giving it a dull background that is kind of in a condition of darkness roaming over. Then there is the sun which is huge with a yellow and orange mix of color to it. I then noticed there were a few sheeps that were black instead of white. In addition, I noticed that the darkest part of the whole picture is the bottom right part where Icarus’ body lies. The ocean where Icarus landed at is pure black expressing his death and since no sunlight is there, the work of the gods. After noticing the colors of the picture, I noticed the way the workers were dressed. For example, the mill worker has a grow coat with the vibrant reddish orange shirt that was the first thing I noticed in the painting. In addition to the hat to block the sun with. The mill worker has a horse pulling the cart he is holding to lay fertilizer on the ground. The mill worker is also dressed up old fashion just like the time period was. Moreover, the sheep worker is also dressed in an old fashion manner. He is wearing a blue shirt and holding a stick while looking at the sky. The next worker is the fisherman who is fishing right near Icarus’ corpse. I believe he is fishing near the corpse because he is probably curious to what happen to the man who he assumed was a god who just fell down to the water and died. He is wearing a fisherman hat with a white coat. After looking at the whole picture I decided to try to understand why Bruegel used the colors he did, put the people and objects where he did, and fade all the colors that he did. I believe that the black ocean on the right bottom of the map signifies the death of Icarus and that is why the ship is there. The ship is used to block the sunlight which is personified as a god from Icarus’s corpse. Next I believe the cave in the middle of the ocean signifies how Icarus and his father were trapped onto the island and couldn’t get out so they flied out of it. Then the sky being black, purple, and yellow is to signify a depressing mood to what has happened which is Icarus’ death. In addition to the whole painting being dark and gloomy where only the sun is strong and vibrant since it signifies a god. I also noticed how the top of the picture is very bright due to the sun and the bottom of the picture is dark and gloomy. I believe it represents how Icarus should have stayed in the middle and not fly too high or too low, because of how the sun would melt his wings and the bottom the oceans would get him, so that is why the middle of the map seems the perfect blend of color which is not too bright and not too dark but in the middle. I then noticed a turtle where Icarus’ dead body lies. I believe that signifies new life and a rebirth since there is a living animal swimming around Icarus’ dead body. After all the backgrounds and colors that I tried to figure out why Bruegel did it, I thought about the significance of the workers. The workers are in the painting to show the natural side of the picture as in the human side. There is a god side to the picture which is the nature part as in the sun. Then, there is the human part where they look up to the sky to be astonished by the gods and since they are all working to get their food and nutrients from nature, I believe it is significant. Since the human workers are doing their jobs to get their source of nutrient and food from nature, it shows how powerful nature is and how powerful the god is. For example, how easily the sun melted Icarus’ wings to cause him to fall into the ocean and die. The ocean is also another god since it is nature. The sun melted Icarus’ wings to cause him to not be able to fly anymore however the ocean is the element of nature that kills him. Overall, Bruegel uses a very unique style of color, texture, people, and objects to subject the viewer to many components of the picture such as the vibrant red shirt, or the bright sun.

1 comment:

Matthew said...

I chose the 1000 words about a picture to put into my portfolio because this was also one of the most challenging pieces of work I had to do all year. I am not very artistic so explaining the painting was very difficult for me. However, after some practice and learning, I was able to pick out the interesting pieces of the painting as well as find the deeper meaning to everything from the shades of color, characters, alignment of things and many more.