“The Tower of Babel” – one of the most famous paintings of the great Dutch artist Peter Brueghel the Elder (1525-1569). The canvas was written in 1563 (wood, oil). Currently he is in the Museum of Art History in Vienna. In the art of this painter there is a large number of masterpieces of world significance, but here the “Tower of Babel” enjoys special honor. Surely, many of you, hearing about the Tower of Babel, represent it exactly as it is represented in the picture of Brueghel. All because this canvas is published almost everywhere and everywhere, from books of biblical content and ending with textbooks for children of lower grades.
The plot of the Tower of Babel tells us that people set out to reach heaven and compare with God. To subdue their pride, God mixed the languages of people, as a result of which they ceased to understand each other, and the construction could not continue further. People with different languages scattered around the world, and the tower was a symbol that says from all futility to compare with God.
The picture of Peter Bruegel the Elder fully covers the grandiose nature of the idea of man. The tower is already built so high that it reaches the clouds. Nearby is the city, and a lot of people work on the construction. The picture is very realistic and narrative. When studying the picture it was found out that for the basis of the Tower of Babel, Brueghel took the Coliseum in Rome, which he saw on one of his trips. The plain, the sea, the buildings around the tower remind more of his native Netherlands. The small workers who work on the construction are more like ants who set out to build the world’s largest anthill, and not to live in it, but to amuse their own pride and show their exceptional superiority.
The painting depicts Inspector Nimrol, who was considered the head of the construction of the tower. Here, Brueghel tried to show a slightly different side to the failure of construction. The tower was not destroyed at all because all languages were mixed, but because of fatal mistakes in design. The whole building is built unevenly, the lower floors begin to crumble, and the tower itself starts to heel to the side and is soon ready to collapse completely.
There are two paintings by Peter Brueghel the Elder on the plot of the Babylonian Bath. The one that is represented here is called the Great Tower of Babel. The second one is executed in a smaller size and is therefore named Malaya. The Little Tower of Babel is made in gloomy colors and with the complete absence of people, since the construction has already been suspended.
Peter Brueghel the Elder – Tower of Babel