Friday, December 12, 2008

Where are All the Stars When They are Fallen?

I'm reading a book which reminded me of a painting which I haven't seen in a long time. The painting is the Landscape with the Fall of Icarus. Icarus made wings for himself and tried to fly to the Sun, but the wax holding the wings together melted, and he fell into the sea and drowned.

Here's a link to a bigger version.

The picture is remarkable even at first sight, because we see lots of things on it except the hero himself. Peasants plowing the Earth, grazing animals, a guy fishing and so on. The difference is apparent between the magnificient event suggested by the title and the mundane proceedings depicted.

Who would  think someone in the middle ages (1555) could paint such an ironic picture which has a very strong effect even today? It's power didn't fade with time.

Now that I encountered this painting again I immediately associated it with today's celebrity world with its 5-minute-heroes and bright starlets like Paris Hilton. Their stardom is comparable to Icarus': Their life is completely irrelevant to the life of the average man. They don't change anyone's life and after their fall they disappear like they haven't existed before.

The painting is brilliant, beacuse it leaves room for other interpretations too. The author of the book I'm reading came to a completely different conclusion. He thinks Icarus did a great thing when he wanted to break out from the limits of everyday life, and his tragedy is his deed goes  unnoticed. The indifferent people mindig  only their own mundane life don't notice his heroic attempt and his failure at all.

Here's a little game for those who didn't know this painting until now: Can you find the spot on the picture where Icarus fell into the sea? :)