Fall of Icarus (1606-07) by Carlo SaraceniMuseo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte
To flee from the Minotaur's labyrinth, Dedalus and his son Icarus built their own wings.
They made their wings from bird feathers they found on the ground. They stuck the feathers together with wax. Then they attached the wings to their arms.
Enjoying his flight, Icarus flew too close to the sun. The wax he used to stick the feathers together with began to melt in mid air!
When Dedalus realized what was happening to his son, it was already too late!
Two men on the river's edge watch the scene. The man on the horse is telling the seated fisherman, "look at Icarus falling!"
Icarus fell into the water and died. Ever since that ancient day, people have remembered that it is dangerous to fly too close to the sun.
Carlo Saraceni (1589 - 1620)
The painter of this scene is named Carlo Saraceni. Although he is a Venetian artist of the 17th century, he spent his life in Rome.
As we can see, the two men on the river's edge are dressed in clothing of the 17th century. People didn't wear close like these when the myth of Icarus was narrated by the ancient poet Ovid.
The subject allows Carlo Saraceni to depict a vast Italian landscape in a flemish manner: a deep perspective of land and rivers leading up to the sky. The scene embraces the whole countryside.
This subject chosen by Saraceni is not common. Saraceni tells the story of Icarus with three paintings. All three paintings are exhibited at the Capodimonte Museum.
Curated by Pablo Schellinger
Photograph by Luciano Romano