Saturday, January 29, 2011
This is a painting called The Triumph of Death. Pieter Bruegel the Elder painted it in 1562. It attempts to show the death and horror of the time of the Black Death, some 200 years earlier.
The Black Death was the worst pandemic in recorded history, taking place between 1348 and 1350. It originated in Asia and spread to Europe, killing between 30% and 60% of the population. The population of the world dropped from 450 million to 350 million. The "Little Ice Age" was happening at the same time. The combination of famine and disease made Europe a very unpleasant and desperate place to live.
The population took 150 years to recover and the event had a profound effect on the course of human history.
The Triumph of Death is oil on canvas. An army of skeletons is rampaging throughout a black and broken landscape. Smoke from burning bodies is rising in the distance. People from every social class are fleeing, fighting, and being slaughtered indiscriminately. There is a solitary cross near the middle which is having no positive effect on the mayhem.
Read more about this painting in the NYU database:
Posted by Andrew at 2:35 PM