Life Goes On“Landscape with the fall of Icarus” is an artistic masterpiece by Pieter Bruegel that is based on Greek mythology “Daedalus and Icarus”. Bruegel is a painter from peasant, and his style of works is full of sympathy for rural civilians and a description of their lives(ref). He depicts people’s attitudes toward other people’s disasters in an artistic way and fully manifests them in his paintings. Human indifference is revealed by analyzing the actions and positions of the characters. Auden, “Musée des Beaux-Arts”, draws upon Bruegel’s painting. The poem was written after he saw Bruegel’s painting in the art gallery in Brussels, Belgium(ref). Like Bruegel, Auden is a poet who attaches importance to humanity. However, his poem is contrasted Bruegel’s painting because Auden cannot stand on the ignorance of characters that showed in Bruegel’s painting. Both the poem and the painting creates an impression of indifference that people have to endure.Bruegel’s painting reveals human indifference by capturing the geographical landscape and analyzing the character’s actions and positions. It specifically depicts the moment when Icarus falls into the water. In the lower right corner of the painting, we can see that Icarus’s white legs are still above the water. But Bruegel’s paintings do not depict the scene of disaster at all. It depicts the ploughman and shepherds going about their daily business. The ploughman is busy attending the fields while the shepherd is looking up at the sky instead of his sheep, unconcerned about what is happening around. Moreover, nearly all images in the painting appear to be facing away from Icarus. A boat which is near to him is moving away. Also, the shepherd, the ploughman, and the fisherman in the painting neglect him entirely. However, most of the individuals in the painting should certainly know what is happening around them. All the tasks they are working on are very common compared to Icarus who is falling into the water. Bruegel chooses to make the farmer bigger and dress in red in comparison to Icarus, which makes the viewers focus on his farming. This is very symbolic in the sense that it shows the simplicity of life by addressing a farmer as a normal person.The first stanza of the poem describes suffering and tragedy are part of life and point out a question about why someone can ignore the cries for those who are experiencing torture and suffering. The first two lines imply “The Old Masters” as philosophical wise men, who totally understand what suffering is, and followed by the other two lines that depict when someone is suffering, how suffering happens in human position. Moreover, children seem not looking forward to a miraculous birth to happen instead older generation is waiting for a miracle birth, which makes a metaphor that everyone has their own preferences. Auden is deliberately prosaic on describing ignorance by giving a doggy life as an example. He tries to make a metaphor that no one actually cares how is the life of a dog or a horse. People always assume they are doing fine. The first stanza highlights that it is always a person in life who suffers greatly while the other continues on life with ordinary activities.The second stanza implies that many adults are self-centered in the sense that they are unconcerned about others’ suffering. It is very likely that some people might have helped many poor. In the painting, everyone turns away from Icarus, including the shepherd who is just staring at the sky. This scenario which is very similar to when people have eye contact with homeless people. In shepherd’s perspective, “it was not an important failure” because “the sun shone,” and life goes on even he does not notice the disaster of Icarus. There is an irony in the dramatical disappearance of Icarus which points out by Auden. As there is no impression or reaction on anyone, it may be a metaphor that people are consciously looking to the other way to avoid involvement.The poem portrays many interpretations as well as the paint. Every small piece of the painting is capable of multiple interpretations because Bruegel does not reveal his intentions. However, in the poem, there is a noticeable indifference in terms of expressing the subject. Auden focuses on making metaphors to give us more space on understanding suffering and tragedy. Even though we suffer from our life, but we cannot give up easily. In some situation, we cannot avoid depression and frustration. The more important is how to recover in our life. Even if we know people are suffering somewhere, life goes on, and we cannot get distracted.Work CitedPieter Bruegel, “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus”W. H. Auden, “Musée des Beaux Arts,”
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