Wystan Hugh Auden was an English-American poet, known for his ability to write poems in almost every verse form. Together with W. B. Yeats and T. S. Eliot he is commonly ranked as one of the three major British poets of the twentieth century.
W. H. Auden’s poem "Musée des Beaux Arts" was written in 1938 while the author was staying in Brussels, Belgium. The poem, which title means "Museum of Fine Arts", was first published under the title "Palais des beaux arts" (Palace of Fine Arts) in 1939, and appeared in a modernist magazine New Writing. The arts museum, visited by Auden, and the paintings found there, especially the one called “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus” painted by Brueghel, became the main inspiration for the poem. Another thing that might have inspired the writer is his visit to Spain during Spanish Civil War in 1937.
The poem has third-person speaker. There are no references to narrator’s personal opinions or beliefs, though. The speaker seems to be depicting what he sees before him. Auden begins the poem by praising “The old Masters”, painters like Brueghel, who understood the nature of suffering and were “never wrong” about it. Then, the speaker makes observations from some paintings by Brueghel, namely “Numbering at Bethlehem”, “Winter Landscape with Skaters and a Bird Trap” and “Massacre of the Innocents”. These references highlight the contrast in human experiences - one person suffers terribly, another carries on regardless with some everyday activity. Later, the reference is made to Brueghel’s “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus”, to reinforce the idea of suffering and separation, as the Icarus falls into the sea, and the ship just sails calmly on, because it “had somewhere to get”.
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- Sau 22, 2018
- 2017 m.
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