Showing posts with label brueghel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label brueghel. Show all posts

Sunday, March 25, 2012

more greek mythology: icarus (miscellaneous 4)

more greek mythology (see icarus on wikipedia):

icarus sans wings ~ frank waaldijk
icarus sans wings (own work, 2011, 21 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

from wikipedia:
Icarus's father, Daedalus, a talented and remarkable Athenian craftsman, attempted to escape from his exile in the palace of Knossos, Crete, where he and his son were imprisoned at the hands of King Minos, the king for whom he had built the Labyrinth to imprison the Minotaur (half man, half bull).
Daedalus, the superior craftsman, was exiled because he gave Minos' daughter, Ariadne, a clew[2] (or ball of string) in order to help Theseus, the enemy of Minos, to survive the Labyrinth and defeat the Minotaur with a sword which was used to stab the Minotaur in the neck.
Daedalus fashioned two pairs of wings out of wax and feathers for himself and his son.
Trying his wings first, Daedalus before taking off from the island,warns his son not to fly too close to the sun, nor too close to the sea, but to follow his path of flight.
Overcome by the giddiness that flying lent him, Icarus soared through the sky curiously, but in the process he came too close to the sun, which melted the wax.
Icarus kept flapping his wings but soon realized that he had no feathers left and that he was only flapping his bare arms.
And so, Icarus fell into the sea in the area which bears his name, the Icarian Sea near Icaria, an island southwest of Samos.

dream of icarus ~ frank waaldijk
dream of icarus (own work, 2011, 40 x 41 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

(you may notice some subconscious, surreal elements... also see the starting post of this `miscellaneous´ thread)

the fall of icarus is usually associated with having too much hubris, being an irresponsible high-flyer etc. again there is an absolutely brilliant painting by pieter brueghel the elder depicting the fall of icarus. but, contrary to popular opinion under art historians, i think maybe brueghel´s intention was not to criticize icarus, but to criticize us, for not even noticing extraordinary events, for pretending not to see them, to not help people in distress, etc. (see my 2008 posts on brueghel´s painting)

pieter bruegel, the fall of icarus

pieter brueghel the elder, landscape and the fall of icarus (click on the image for an enlargement)

Friday, March 23, 2012

the slow triumph of death (miscellaneous 2, see `way of working')

`the triumph of death' is an old medieval/renaissance theme, mostly in painting and etching/drawing. the theme, also known as danse macabre, embodies that we are all mortal, and as such no earthly difference in status, riches, piety, conduct will help anyone to escape death.

i've made a small construction-sculpture on the same theme (with a sidewise reference to damien hirst's `for the love of god' although lacking false modesty i really consider the below work to have more depth, irony and all):

the slow triumph of death ~ frank waaldijk
the slow triumph of death (own work, 2010-2011, 30 x 15 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

the sculpture contains various ways in which we meet our end...;-) (largely invisible, on the other side there is a pink cadillac-like car)

of course, a completely brilliant version of this theme by pieter brueghel the elder cannot be left out:

the triumph of death ~ pieter brueghel
pieter brueghel the elder, the triumph of death (1567, click on the image for an enlargement)

this has to be one of the alltime masterpieces of western art, even though its subject is not so cheerful... which then explains why i added a large dollop of ironic humor to the sculpture above ;-)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

icarus: reading about brueghel 2

in the train of thoughts that forms this chautauqua i'm reminded of rudy rucker's book as above, so below on the life of pieter brueghel the elder, one of my favourite artists. (first post here)

i find very revealing especially what the author makes pieter say about the following painting:

pieter bruegel, the fall of icarus

pieter bruegel, the fall of icarus

according to rudy, pieter paints this picture to show that icarus types can easily be missed from society. they do not contribute essentially, life goes on as usual with or without them. supposedly pieter brueghel adheres to simplicity of life, which prompts him to paint peasant scenes and peasant village landscapes, having little admiration for highflying `false' ideals.

of course i have no way of knowing pieter brueghel's mind when he painted the above. but rudy rucker's interpretation to me seems too easy. the real bite of the painting to me - and such a bite i consider pieter to be very capable of - is that the painting also depicts the narrow view of the worldly world. the farmer doesn't look up, not because he's knowingly not interested, but because he's too engrossed in his own world to notice anything out of the ordinary. the same for the herdsman, and the other (fisher?)man. the ship sails, but does not set out a rescue party for the person who has just crashed in the accomplishment of a miraculous feat. why not? well, there's time to consider, effort...and anyway these highflyers...have themselves to blame don't they? ignoring seems a safe bet.

i think brueghel in his time was a highflyer himself. the painting has this double edge, that it depicts what society (not brueghel!) thinks of real highflyers (not the happyfacehowdoyoudo (con)temporary stars of a given period) in their own era.

to be continued.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

reading about brueghel

as above, so below (rudy rucker)

as first entry in what will undoubtedly be an erratically upkept blog, let me note that i'm reading rudy rucker's book as above, so below which is about pieter brueghel the elder - one of my favourite artists.

in my humble opinion:

profound art is a form of philosophy, much of it wordless. it touches us where words cannot reach. an artist striving for depth needs to think, feel, dare, experience and experiment. with as much energy as the physical creating itself.

reading about artists' backgrounds, lives, etc. to me is a bridge to understand more about their works, to regain inspiration that art is a worthwile undertaking, the general public's insensitivity or should i say indifference notwithstanding.

brueghel (or bruegel as he simplified his own name later) paints humanity in a not so flattering light, which strikes me as timeless in its understanding of la condition humaine.

pieter bruegel, tower of babel

pieter bruegel, tower of babel