Making a splash
Icarus and his father, Daedalus, learnt how to fly with wings made of feathers and wax, but Icarus flew too close to the sun and melted the wax. Here, he crashes into the sea as the world goes on around him.
Bruegel's design puts an ordinary farmer in the foreground, leaving the 'epic' myth of Icarus to happen in the background. Life goes on, and the indifference is both funny and tragic.
Bruegel foregrounds ordinary life, and relegates these grand ships to the background, in a technique known as 'Mannerist inversion'
Several sheep can be seen wandering around the coastal edge. Do you think any of them fell into the water like Icarus?
Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, Bruegel the Elder
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