Friday, 19 October 2007

PostHeaderIcon The Triumph of Death

We have hanging on the wall in our lounge a copy of The Triumph of Death by Pieter Bruegel the Elder painted in 1562. The painting is a panoramic landscape of death: the sky in the distance is blackened by smoke from burning cities and the sea is littered with shipwrecks. Armies of skeletons advance on the hapless living, who either flee in terror or try vainly to fight back. Skeletons kill people in a variety of ways - slitting throats, hanging, drowning, and even hunting with skeletal dogs. In the foreground, skeletons haul a wagon full of skulls, and ring the bell that signifies the death knell of the world. A fool plays the lute while a skeleton behind him plays along; a starving dog nibbles at the face of a child; a cross sits lonely and impotent in the center of the painting. People flee into a tunnel decorated with crosses whilst a skeleton on horseback slaughters people with a scythe. The painting clearly depicts people of different social backgrounds - from peasants and soldiers to nobles and even a king - being taken by death indiscriminately. (description copied from Wikipedia [click here].)

So why on earth do we have it hanging on our living room wall? I bought the picture almost 20 years ago whilst visiting the Museo del Prado, Madrid where the original hangs. I was completely captivated by the picture which really is something to behold and so bought a copy in the museum shop. I was a youngster in them days still living at home with my mother and I hung the picture on my bedroom wall in a very nice frame made by Mike. The picture stayed there for years before I left home and Em & I moved into our current house. The house was quite bare when we moved in and so we just stuck the picture on a convenient hook that was already in the wall with the full intention of changing it for something more appropriate as soon as. Over 12 years later it still hangs there!

It's funny and a bit embarrassing seeing peoples reaction when they see it there for the first time, they must think we are weirdos or something! Well anyway, I think it's a great picture and it matches our colour scheme perfectly!


Beautifully Profound said...

I think the painting is fantastic, one that you could look at hundreds of times (maybe even thousands) and see different scenarios. I don't think you two are weirdos, just have a good eye for great art.

Anonymous said...


People think you are a complete weirdo because you are!! It has nothing to do with the painting. I also like the painting and have seen it in its full glory hanging on your wall!

Gary Lynch said...

If you're going to call me a weirdo don't hide behind anonymity!

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