SiStan ChapLee

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A mystery during the Carnival -- or Lent

click to enlarge further

In Bruegel's Fight between Carnival and Lent (1559) there appears an unusually puzzling detail among the 'usual' bizarre things: An old woman pulling a cart in which. . . a dead man lies. The concealment of a murder? Or maybe the victim of a plague, to be carried away from the town?
On closer inspection, it may even look like a "portable" reproduction of the Holy Shroud -- the one now in Turin -- whose devotion in fact was widespread during the Renaissance (in the Netherlands, too?), but then, the cart also contains a trivial wicker basket. So. . .
What is that?
Agnes Karpinski, a graduate student at Saarland University (see her G+ profile), kindly commented, “I think the dead person stands for the future of all human beings, their death. The depicted ‘theme' can be found further on this picture. The pig, for example, is placed very close to the roasted pig. How the dead person died is left to speculation. In all meanings, death and misery seems to be a consequence of the very nature of mankind. A disturbing painting, however beautiful."