“They were never wrong”… Masters of word and picture about suffering

Poland, ID CLEaR2015-266;

To handle physical, mental or existential pain, the man resorts to medicine, psychology, religion, philosophy… This issue is also discussed by writers and painters of all the epochs. Artists have the advantage though – using the language of art, they can reach the truth about human life which cannot be accessed in a different way. The departure point for the considerations about suffering and the sense of debating about it by means of words and pictures is a poem by W. H. Auden Musée des Beaux-Arts, from which the title quotation is derived. Auden refers to P. Bruegel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, which applies to Ovid. In this draft, besides the aforementioned works (Auden, Bruegel; Metamorphoses), other paintings by Bruegel, a film by L. Majewski, The Mill and the Cross, and also prose by Z. Herbert The Suffering of our Lord painted by Anonym from the circle of the Rhine Masters are used. Thanks to that a reflection on the anthropology of the image, on making sense of the work in the reception process, and also the reflection on the morality of art and the morality of art understanding will be possible.

Key words: literature, painting, language of art, reception of art, anthropology of the image, morality of art, suffering