Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, by Pieter Brueghel the Elder*
…is a painting in oil on canvas long thought to be by Pieter Bruegel, although following technical examinations in 1996, that attribution is regarded as very doubtful, and it is now seen as a good early copy by an unknown artist of Bruegel’s original, perhaps painted in the 1560s.
Largely derived from Ovid, the painting itself became the subject of a poem of the same name byWilliam Carlos Williams, and is described in W. H. Auden's famous poem Musée des Beaux-Arts, named after the museum in which the painting is housed in Brussels. (Wikipedia)
Every time my day is detoured by a traffic collision or a train accident, I can’t help thinking of this painting, and how locked in our daily habits we get. Icarus falls, and the ploughman drives on, head down, and the shepherd ponders the weather, face to the sky and back to the splash, the ship drives on at full speed, the fisherman looks into the depths, blind to the life crashing on thw water’s indifferent surface, just meters away; the end of a hero, unnoticed; a world ends, and we carry on, at most, inconvenienced by tragedy. In the turn of seasons, we will play every role. The heroic dies, and is replaced by the everyday when industry replaces empathy.