leading the blind

Different stages of falling. Trust, surprise and then shock. The Church in the background is a symbol to invoke the risks in straying from the church? Perhaps.  Bruegel demonstrates that the natural, uncivilized realm of man is a constituent element of his natural make-up, and the basis of his existence. No body means no soul. Man rises above Nature, yet is also a part of it. Perhaps. It is a painting that has never lent itself to a definitive interpretation and it remains ambiguous; the visual language may portend to understanding that there could be a denial of a strictly moralistic diagnosis that may have been specific and peculiar to early Protestantism in Holland before finding its final form, the coagulation of wealth and power at the peak of the structure.

One of the more intriguing details is the representation of the Church, whose consolidation of power, its non-emancipatory aspects, its betrayal of first principles may have presented to Bruegel the presentiment that religion had become an academic pursuit and a business. A real estate body of speculation. The six figures represented may be blind church leaders, and tripping, stumbling and crashing, the fate of those who follow without reflection.

Read More:http://www.humanitiesweb.org/human.php?s=g&p=c&a=p&ID=1129 ---Illustrating the biblical line of Christ "And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into a ditch", the moralising tone of this painting is clear but, in light of the little that is known of the artist's politics or religion, the exact nature of the moral is open to interpretation.---

The six men, the number six, is an expression of material atheism. The number of the anti-Christ. It also points to the rejection of god and his blessing; a satisfaction and contentment only and exclusively with what was created the first six days, according to the Bible. The 666 then is the beast, the monster of materialism elevated to the pedestal of divinity. The passion of accumulation and consumption. Consumerism. Does this reflect, mirror, Bruegel’s intuitive belief of self-described theological experts, the cream of the crop, the ivy league of religious seminaries and whether he felt what they conveyed had any relation to faith. Not the religion of Jesus, but a religion about Jesus that could be tailored to suit ends and means. Perhaps Bruegel felt the institution was producing leaders who trusted only in their intelligence, and academic credentials and not in the spirituality at the core of the original teachings. The absence of light in the work may be seen as a precursor to impending darkness…


Jesus had told his disciples that it was not necessary to wash hands before eating. Scribes and Pharisees who heared about this were infuriated, as it was a clear breach of Jewish law. When the disciples informed Jesus about that, he replied that the Pharisees were blind leading the blind, and that all would end up falling into the ditch. The disciples should pay no attention to them.Read More:http://www.artbible.info/art/large/556.html

Read More:http://mydailyartdisplay.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/the-parable-of-the-blind-by-pieter-bruegel-the-elder/--- and it is interesting to note that Bruegel’s elder son, Pieter Brueghel the Younger, made a copy of his father’s painting soon after his father died. The same six blind men stumble along, some of whom have been given lighter-coloured clothing and in this picture we see animals and fowl in the well preserved field in front of the church in comparison to the d

ate looking field in his father’s painting.---

The Parable Of The Blind

This horrible but superb painting
the parable of the blind
without a red

in the composition shows a group
of beggars leading
each other diagonally downward

across the canvas
from one side
to stumble finally into a bog

where the picture
and the composition ends back
of which no seeing man

is represented the unshaven
features of the des-
titute with their few

pitiful possessions a basin
to wash in a peasant
cottage is seen and a church spire

the faces are raised
as toward the light
there is no detail extraneous

to the composition one
follows the others stick in
hand triumphant to disaster.

– William Carlos Williams

…The pyramid of the roof looks like the pyramid in “The Peasant and the Birdsnester”, so maybe that one is a roof too. Note that both of these pictures have the pyramid and have a man falling into the water. A connection with baptism? Six blind men. Other figures? Yes, faint in the worn area are a big cow, a smaller cow, a peasant walking away. And there’s a peasant sitting on a wall by the church with a stick on his shoulder….The six blind men from left to right:

1) Dumb, happy, plodding. 2) My friend Alfred from AA, a worrier. He’s “in” the pyramidal roof, wears a cross, is richer than the others. A mason? He looks a bit like the landowner in the “Peasant Wedding”. 3) Really really blind, not of this world. 4) Eager smart, “The Connoisseur”, starting to fall. 5) Full fall, yelling. Face a bit like the Peasant’s face in “The Peasant And The Birdsnester.” No eyes and no teeth. A face of skin. 6) On his back. Feet rendered very clearly. Italian Renaissance perspective, like Masaccio’s Christ.

There are only 5 sticks for the 6 men. Whose stick is missing? It’s a bit of a visual puzzle, like Sam Lloyds’ “Get Off The Earth”. Though really I guess it boils down to 4 and 5 sharing a single stick. The missing stick is on the shoulder of the guy on the wall of the church. There’s a big puffy white iris blossom over the ditch of water. In this picture and “The Misanthrope” there is the same milky gray sky and dun Earth. Winter. A depressing pair. Bruegel knew he was dying. [Frayne] reading the picture as the king of Spain and his lieutenants and collaborators leading the Netherlandish folk into disaster…

…Chapter Seven. The Parable of the Blind. Antwerp, August, 1561. Bruegel has thrown Anja out for her unfaithfulness, also because he wants to court Mayken Coecke. He’s been unproductive of late, spending all his time doing lampoons, or political cartoons, of Cardinal Granvelle and Philip. Anja goes to see an Antwerp street-festival of plays, and finds Bruegel fighting with Williblad. Bruegel, Ortelius, Williblad and Mayken perform in a play called “The Blind Leading the Blind.” At the end of the play, Bruegel hugs tries to hug Mayken. Anja gets so jealous she runs to Granvelle, and tells him that Bruegel has been drawing lampoons of him. Granvelle has Bruegel fetched and tells Bruegel he has to paint a series of Bosch-style Hell pictures for him and for the Regent Margaret, who serves as King Philip’s local ruler of the Netherlands….Read More:http://www.rudyrucker.com/bruegel/bruegelnotesposted.pdf

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