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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

Proverbial details

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More Google Art Project details from the amazing Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The Netherlandish Proverbs (1559) is one of Bruegel’s many paintings which are crammed with curious incident; it’s also one of the more bizarre examples. In a crowded scene the artist depicts in a literal manner one hundred different proverbs or figures of speech. Wikipedia has a guide to the details but if you ignore that you can treat the whole thing as another example of Surrealism before its time. In addition to the usual complement of medieval grotesques there’s a fair amount of earthy humour of a kind which pretty much vanished from painting until the 20th century.

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  1. #1 posted by Michelangelo

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    This happens in Bosch too: the verbal images of sermons, parables and proverbs, once brought back into the visual realm produce what looks like surrealism from our viewpoint in history. I guess this is also true of emblems, although they are more Magritte than Buñuel…

 


 

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