The Tower of Babel, Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Bruegel’s depiction of the Biblical story of the attempt to build a tower to the heavens is a remarkable evocation of scale and a stunning tour de force of perspective and detail.
Bruegel has placed his tower, as it spirals upward, against the backdrop of a contemporary Flemish town, populated it with workmen, modern (for Bruegel) hoists and other machinery, and arrayed ships and wagons at its base. It is set into the landscape with enormous weight and authority, and already seems to be sinking under the force of its own hubris.
This is the largest of three paintings of the subject by Bruegel. The original is nearly 4 feet by 5 feet (114x155cm) and is in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. The link above is to a zoomable image on the Google Art Project. There is a downloadable version of the same file on Wikipedia, but be aware that the linked high-resolution file is over 200mb!
There is also a description and history of the painting on Wikipedia, as well as on the Google Art Project.
3 Replies to “Eye Candy for Today: Bruegel’s Tower of Babel”
Long a favorite, both Breughel and the Tower. Inspired one of my jig saw puzzles. His village pieces would fit nicely into contemporary illustration winning every award ever.
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