Sunday, August 14, 2011

Landscape With The Fall of Icarus


What are the odds of reading two new novels in 24 hours that both reference this painting, I wonder. But having done so, I felt compelled to find it online and have another look at it. Breugel died in 1569, when Shakespeare was five. Imagine still haunting human imagination 550 years later.

If you're wondering where Icarus is, click on the picture to embiggen and then have a look in the bottom right-hand corner.

W.H. Auden was a profoundly political poet and his work, more than most, was written for and about his own times. But he didn't go in for knee-jerk rejection of any universalising thinking, either, and in 'Musée des Beaux Arts' he uses this painting to say something about his own times that is probably true of any place and any age.


7 comments:

Ann O'Dyne said...

and don't forget that Michael Frayn novel HEADLONG which is totally about Breughels Elder and lesser, and is hilarious.

Ampersand Duck said...

Were the novels good? I guess you can't share the titles... have just finished 'When we have wings' by Claire Corbett, and have flying (or not) on the brain...

fifi said...

I read Michael Frayn's Headlong on the strength of that painting and I really loved it, as I do the poem. I look forward to the two new ones.
I was hanging about in berkelouw yesterday feeling a bit bewildered, and I was wishing I had a pavlov app on mu iphone so you could tell me decisively what I'd like, LOL.

oh Duck, I looked at that cover and decided against it, was it good? I was a very good dream-flyer as an adolescent.

B Smith said...

I can't help feeling that if Breughel were alive today, there'd be a new fad of photoshoppping Icarus into the bottom right corner of all sorts of pictures.

Mindy said...

I think I need to print that poem out and put it somewhere I can see it to remind myself that despite how I sometimes feel no one is actually taking any notice. (and that's a good thing)

paul walter said...

"..despite how I feel, no one is actually taking any notice"- Mindy.
Such is the Getting of Wisdom, disillusioning, but Truth sets us Free.
Hopefully not too late, as "crash and burn" Icarus would no doubt warn, were he not in such a flap already.

Anonymous said...

At The Guardian today the oblivious Pieter painting ploughman is compared with seemingly
disaster-oblivious people in an infamous photograph of the NYC skyline with the burning WTC ...
Ann ODyne