BRUEGEL, Pieter the Elder
(b. ca. 1525, Brogel, d. 1569, Brussel)

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus

c. 1555
Oil on canvas, mounted on wood, 74 x 112 cm
Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels

Wearing wings held together with wax, Icarus approached too close to the sun; the wax melted, and Icarus fell into the sea. Bruegel makes him look ridiculous, depicting merely his thrashing legs. Through the farmer, the shepherd and the angler, he is promulgating Stoic ideas: one should not rebel against the laws of the cosmos, but should be content to fulfil one's tasks in the appointed place.