Parable of the Blind

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Pieter Bruegel, Parable of the Blind, 1568
By ELIZABETH ELLIS 

Composition-wise,  Parable of the Blind is a clear example of Bruegel stylistic tones and subject choices. His earthy color choices and painting techniques give a humanistic realism to the scene. He painted so that his people seem to be stepping lightly and that the entire painting is slightly translucent and light. Bruegel's composition has the line of blind men cutting diagonally across painting in the foreground. Bruegel places the Sint-Anna Church in the background and, true to Bruegel's previous compositions, has a faded horizon deep into the painting. 


Despite the religious influences of the painting, Bruegel still maintains the human empathy and feeling he is known for. Bruegel emphasizes the people, rather than the religious aspects of the painting by placing the church in the background. The painting features a scene taken from the Bible, from the Gospel of Matthew 15:14. Jesus explains, "Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit."  He uses accurate depictions of the blind in his artwork, through use of different afflictions for the figures, their use of poles, and their body language. Each of the figures has a different eye problem, including removed eyes, atrophy of globe, and corneal leukoma. Their faces are tilted upward, to make better use of their other senses, like smell. Bruegel brings to life the chosen passage from the Bible with his color choices, composition, and realistic aspects of the passage.

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