Musée des Beaux Arts (poem)  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e

Google
Wikipedia
Wiktionary
Wiki Commons
Wikisource
YouTube
Shop


Featured:
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Enlarge
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

"Musée des Beaux Arts" (French for "Museum of Fine Arts") is the title of a poem by W. H. Auden from 1938. The poem's title derives from the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique in Brussels which contains the painting Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, thought until recently to be by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, though still believed to be based on a lost original of his.

"Brueghel's" painting portrays several men and a ship peacefully performing daily activities in a charming landscape. While this occurs, Icarus is visible in the bottom right hand corner of the picture, his legs splayed at absurd angles, drowning in the water.

The allusions in the first part of the poem to a "miraculous birth" and a "dreadful martyrdom" refer obliquely to Christianity, the subject of other paintings by Breughel in the museum that the poem evokes (e.g. "The Census at Bethlehem" and "The Massacre of the Innocents"). The "forsaken cry" of Icarus alludes to Christ crying out on the cross, "My God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

Some years after Auden wrote this poem, William Carlos Williams wrote a poem titled "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" about the same paintings.

This poem and the painting Landscape with the Fall of Icarus appear side-by-side 22 minutes into the 1976 film, The Man Who Fell to Earth, starring David Bowie.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Musée des Beaux Arts (poem)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools