University of Southern California
The Fall of Icarus and the Rise of Spirit
Describe a book, play, composition, poem, scientific discovery, technical achievement, myth, historic event or work of art that has inspired and intrigued you. You can assume we are familiar with the plot and details; instead, tell us what it means for you personally.
A single pair of legs, kicking up from the ocean. Kicking up from the far right corner of a pleasant landscape depicting what may be the most tranquil morning in the history of pleasant landscapes. And there, the legs - added as almost an afterthought to the scheme of things - a splash unnoticed by the shepherd and his roly poly sheep or the farmer making even rows in the field.
In Pieter Bruegel's "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" I find a strange sort of inspiration and motivation; a call to action and compassion - ironically from a painting that could stand as the greatest conception of indifference in the history of art. I remember the first viewing; a sweeping glance that yielded only a mild reaction towards yet another typical renaissance painting. Then, a halfhearted examination of the title. Searching, searching for Icarus - and then finding him. Once mirth at the clever placement passed, I was filled with an unsettling feeling. Something, something about the painting was bothersome and continued to be so long after the slides had been put away.
Then, it hit me. A young boy, a boy who had flown with the birds and nearly touched Apollo's chariot, had fallen. A young boy had just plummeted to his death....
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 861 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 6549 literature essays, 1777 sample college application essays, 269 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in