Tuesday, March 25, 2008
When I first witnessed the picture of The Fall of Icarus by Bruegel, there was a quite unique concept about the color structure he used. In the background there is an aluminous sky shaded by the yellow shadow that represents a form of purity and well-being. The rest of the background is hard to make out but the clouds provide a contradictory image of the eternally lit flame of the sun. This may be foreshadowed as the danger that may come from the death of Icarus and the clouds are the warning sign of dangerous times. Next, the richness of the Mediterranean Sea is pictured oh so elegantly by Brueghel. The radiance of the sea is perfected in the blue shadings. The color really captures the importance of the sea as if it were human and the painting is fairly adequate when measuring the prolific empire of mythology and how we interpret it. The image of the boat is amazing in the sense of how steady it is against the calm blue sea. The Island is portrayed as a prison in the myth, but seems filled with people who seem to enjoy the time they have. The title of the painting, The Fall of Icarus, obviously represents the tragedy that will be faced by the title character. The painting seems to pick up just after the incident has occurred judging from the fallen angel wings in the water trying obsessively to swim back up to the heavens. The painting also focuses on the ignorance of the peasants or farm workers or the workers with the Earth, The man in red who plows on by while he had just admired the significance of the fly. The Shepard who is turned away from the fall and sees nothing of the incident could signify the accepting of the Gods while Icarus has defied these same gods by flying higher than he thought he could and making the workers believe as if he were indeed a God. As Icarus falls into the water, his father Deadalus tries to reach into the water and save his son. He fails and the painter does not offer the sort of emotions that one, Deadalus, should express by the death of his son. When glanced at a second time I realized that the first image that strikes me as odd is the effect the painting has on the impact of the plowman. He takes up a large portion of the left side of the picture. He is also one of the only characters to be clearly displayed with symbolic amounts of color. The red suit personifying rage and evil stemming from in this case the entrapment on the island that is evident through the eternal suffering Deadalus must now submit himself to. The shadows are clustered in the region in which Icarus drowns is blackened and darkened to emphasize the effect of the death and the darkness that is soon to follow the orders of Gods and their wrath. While on the other side of the equation there is a light that is illuminating on the clear water, however some may see this as a clear path to the Promised Land and that is something nobody on the island will ever be able to achieve further symbolizes the imagery of the Sun as a sign of rage and passion that is burning continuously as the events continue to unfold. The next thing I notice is the select amount of sheep that are different colors who still roam with the other normally colored sheep. I can make an assumption about the fact that they are “black sheep” which in this case could be used to apply Deadalus and Icarus as out of place in this prison island of Crete. They are different because of their fight with nature. The herdsman and Shepard and plowman are all one with nature and they work with the gods something that both Deadalus and Icarus fight by inventing things and defying the laws of gravity and in doing so anger the Gods so much as to do something as inhumane as grossly murder the son of Deadalus. The painting also show the deep and unfortunate aspects of the universe are and how all beings on the earth are trapped their. In a deep thought this one island is the rest of the universe. The workers and prisoners are trapped their for as long as I can see and the end is symbolized by the death or fall of Icarus and just how badly one can come to an end as quickly as it is put on earth. The color green is used in the mix of the ocean which is ironic of the reason Deadalus is on the island in the first place. He murders his own nephew because of his jealousy, or to be more fitting, or envy which is commonly applied to the color green to represent something that is a sin under the bible’s definition of the terms. Also, the green is being applied to the pastures that are being plowed indicating the turn of spring and the trees of which are not fully grown are still brown. This was possibly to emphasize the immaturity of youth and how when youth is not fully experienced it can wither easily in the passing time. Icarus learned this lesson based on his ego trip that angered an elder God(s), it was Icarus’ dream to be just like a God by flying so high while intellectually being a lesser being, a child. It is important to see the pictures of what it is that we read. In this case a myth about youth or about man facing off against nature, by looking at the picture we can gather an even larger mental picture of the actions at hand. We learn about emotions, we learn about patterns and how they are represented by different colors and objects that are symbolic of the people involved in the picture or painting. What else do we learn from a picture? Do we really see everything on first glance? Is there more than meets the eye?