The painting depicts a city in the midst of chaos; smoke and fire emerge from the city line in the background while various animals viciously battle next to a pile of weapons, armor, and other various war objects. Two humans, one wearing a red cape and traditional war attire during that time and carrying a sword, and the other carrying a torch and donning a sort of toga, appear to be running from the right side of the painting as if to inspect the anarchy.
Soft lines fill the background of the painting, and become increasingly more distinct in the foreground. The lines are thicker and blurred in the background, mimicking the smog and smoke that is emerging from the city line in the background. Shapes overlap towards the back of the scene, and while the painting also displays the overlapping of various objects in the foreground, the lines are explicit and defined, giving the shapes a more realistic quality. The lines seem to be extending from the pile of war weapons and armor, as if they were coming up towards the spectator, and thus drawing their eye to the chaos.
The primary colors are red, brownish/brick, black, white, and soft blue. Red is seen in the flags and capes of the living soldier and the one dying in the background. The buildings are all brick and concrete, and are close to the color of the ground which is mainly dirt. Black is evident mostly in the fur and feathers of the animals, as well as the armor piled in the left-hand side of the painting. The sky is white with clouds and smog, but light blue peeks through- the same color as the mountains on the horizon.
Many shadows are placed around the fighting animals and piles of weapons, casting an ominous feeling on the bulk of the painting. The city line is also shadowed, though this could be because of the smoke coming from the fire. The sky around the mountains is the lightest part of the painting. In terms of composition, everything is drawn relatively close to scale, however the animals seem to be somewhat large in comparison to the humans- even the birds are enormous. The skulls laying on the ground are much larger than the heads of the living humans, thus emphasizing death.
Even after a close reading of the painting and paying attention to fine detail, the question still remains; why did the artist make these choices, and what does it tell us about the meaning of the painting? In my opinion, the prominence of red and black most likely symbolize blood and death, which is only further accentuated by the shapes of animals in combat.
The clarity of the lines in the foreground draw the spectator’s eye to the weapons of destruction and vicious animals- even the outline of the animals’ teeth are visible. The size of the animals in comparison to the humans emphasize the importance of animals fighting rather than humans. Obviously an allegorical painting about war, the artist shows that war does not only affect humans, but the entire world around them as well. Cities are destructed, nature is thrown into disarray, and complete turmoil ensues.
Στο λεξικό κάποιος που δεν ξέρει το όνομα ακριβώς, μπερδεύεται. Υπάρχουν πολλοί, Μπρέγκελ, τουλάχιστον μισή ντουζίνα Brueghels. Σε αυτούς συμπεριλαμβάνεται ο Abraham, ο Jan Pieter και ο Jan Baptist, γιοί του Jan, που ήταν γιος ενός άλλου Jan, που ήταν πατέρας του Ambrosius, και αδερφός του Pieter, που ήταν γιος ενός άλλου Pieter.
Στο όνομα Bruegel υπάρχουν τέσσερις γενιές ζωγράφων που δραστηριοποιήθηκαν για δυο αιώνες, μια αληθινή συντεχνία καλλιτεχνών. Κάποιοι γράφουν το επώνυμό τους Bruegel, κάποιοι Breughel και άλλοι Brueghel. Ο ένας αντέγραφε τη δουλειά του άλλου και είναι ένας πονοκέφαλος για τους ειδικούς να καταλάβουν αν πρόκειται για ένα πρωτότυπο Bruegel ή ένα αντίγραφο Bruegel ενός πρωτότυπου Bruegel.
Επίσης συνεργάστηκαν στα εργαστήρια και με άλλους καλλιτέχνες και το πράγμα αρχίζει να γίνεται πιο περίπλοκο. Συνδεδεμένοι με μια σειρά από οικογένειες Ολλανδών καλλιτεχνών έχουν και πολλά αστεία παρατσούκλια: Velvet Brueghel, Peasant Bruegel, Hell Breughel, Big Dog Brueghel.