Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hunters in the Snow, Breughel

Pieter Bruegel’s painting Hunters in the Snow shows the shift in the relationship between humans and nature in the art world.  Far removed from the ancient cave paintings of Lascaux, this work of art was created in the year 1565 and frames nature’s role in a different light. Believed to be part of an original series of twelve paintings depicting seasonal change, Hunters in the Snow certainly focuses on aspects of nature, but in relation to its effect on the humans living within it. In fact, it is the way in which nature is dealt with that forms the defining story of this painting. The weather is an imposing element which humans struggle against. The weary hunters in the forefront of the landscape trudge back from an exhausting winter hunting excursion, beating by the elements and their attempts to best nature, their success of which is not known to a great extent. The attempt to cultivate fire occurring in the left of the painting shows the attempt of humans to counter the domineering effect of nature’s seasonal habits, granted for survival. Other activities occurring within the frame of Bruegel’s detailed painting such as the ice-skating and bundled up residents traversing the ice to do chores are prompted by the nature’s demeanor. However, Bruegel’s work speaks to a shift from that early-human perspective on nature. The inclusion of humans within this landscape painting is a clear difference. And they are not just included as an extraneous subject to fill space; they speak to a shift in the human perspective on nature. The season of winter is clearly marked by the backdrop of nature’s recognizable face during that particular time of year, but, it appears most defined by the activity of the humans within the scene, a symbol that the seasonal change is often times associated with what humans must change in their behavior or attire, rather than what changes they see in nature. 

No comments:

Post a Comment