painting - The Triumph of Death

painting - The Triumph of Death
Photograph by duwagison Flickr.

The Triumph of Death is an oil on panel, approximately 117 by 162 centimeters (46 x 63.8 in), painted c. Uniquely, the painting painting The Triumph of Death shows a common method of execution for sixteenth-century criminals: being lashed to a cartwheel mounted on a vertical pole.
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People are herded into a trap decorated with crosses, while a skeleton on horseback slaughters people with a scythe. Skeletons kill people in a variety of ways - slitting throats, hanging, drowning, and even hunting with skeletal dogs.
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A Knight tries to defend himself Skeletons fishing men . A fool plays the lute while a skeleton behind him plays along; a starving dog nibbles at the face of a child; a cross sits lonely and impotent in the center of the painting.

In the foreground, skeletons haul a wagon full of skulls, and ring the bell that signifies the death knell of the world. The painting clearly depicts people of different social backgrounds - from peasants and soldiers to nobles and even a king and a cardinal - being taken by death indiscriminately. The painting serves a useful historical purpose in that it shows aspects of everyday European life in the mid-sixteenth century.

It currently hangs in the Museo del Prado, Madrid. The painting is a panoramic landscape of death: the sky in the distance is blackened by smoke from burning cities and the sea is littered with shipwrecks. Armies of skeletons advance on the hapless living, who either flee in terror or try vainly to fight back.

Objects such as musical instruments and an early mechanical clock, and scenes including a funeral service provide historians with a deeper understanding of the lifestyle of the 1560s. Some that this work is an outgrowth of Bruegel s familiarity with the then-popular Danse Macabre motif, which liberally features animate skeletons leading various people to their doom. It has been suggested is that the painting is an allegorical depiction of the horrors of war, much like his Mad Meg (Dulle Griet in Dutch), also painted around 1562. A mirrored and partial print of the painting was also used as the front cover to an unofficial/unsanctioned Greatest Hits album from rock band Black Sabbath, released by NEMS in 1973. Shipwreckings at the background The army of skeletons with coffin lids as shields Death riding a skeletal horse Dog contemplating eating the face of a dead baby A jester tries to hide under a table. Clothes are clearly depicted, as are pastimes such as playing cards.

1562 by Pieter Bruegel the Elder.