Much like Michelangelo, Bruegel created a symbolic colossus from the material of the human figure. But the two artists’ colossi resemble one another only in the monumentality of their weight a breadth. Michelangelo idealized man as the supreme intellectual and passionate force. The beauty in the idealized body in Michelangelo’s art expresses man’s spiritual nobility, but in its state of glorious nudity the symbol exists without earthly connections; it could never walk through the streets, could never inhabit a landscape that was not correspondingly invented to suit it.
In Bruegel, all this is reversed with the symbol’s majesty lying in its plainness, a clumsiness that pivits away from idealized form and is only retentive of figurative form within an identity to nature, that within its own context, moves towards a sense of abstraction where man within nature is at best a volatile experience with humans on the top of level of the minerals/vegetation/animal/human chain, but stuck in an orbit that cannot decide if man and earth orbit the sun or vice-versa and what being the center of the universe means when the intensity bleeds towards both sanctity and insanity in dealing with the demons and nightmares of exile. A sense of wonder coupled wit dismay,anxiety and hysteria.
Be it to Bruegel that man is only one manifestation of universal force with nature being indifferent to his well-being, that is, neutral with regard to benevolence or malevolence, expressing some of the zest of Spinoza of man’s connection to the natural physical plane which would avoid a confrontation with potentially deep-seated frailties, though with Bruegel it is apparent the cosmos w=are not an accident or that human life is without meaning or reason.