Icarus is shown falling from the sky when his wax and feather wings disintegrate. Daedalus can be glimpsed at bottom left.
According to myth, Icarus and his father Daedalus made wings to escape from captivity on the island of Crete. Reckless Icarus flew too close to the sun, which melted the wax in his wings, so that he plunged into the sea. The picture is a warning to citizens not to let an over-ambitious lifestyle lead them into debt. The Bankruptcy Chamber (Desolate boedelkamer) was set up to help citizens unable to meet their debts manage their bankruptcy.