Tower of bable description

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Tower of Babel
This image is a reproduction of “Breughel the Elder”’s famous painting “The Tower of Babel. The painting is the larger of two versions on the subject painted in the sixteenth century.The story of the Tower comes down to us from The Bible or, more specifically, from the Book of Genesis where it is told of this vast construction undertaken by a unified monolingual humanity as asign of their capabilities. The story continues that when God saw what humans had created he was outraged by their hubris and decided to punish them. To do this, he “confounded their tongues”, herendered them incapable of communicating with each other, thus preventing the completion of the project. The people of the city, no longer able to communicate split up and went their different ways,abandoning the city. The story explains the existence of the many different languages and peoples that exist in the world and serves also as a warning against man’s attempts to be the equal of Gods.

Thepainting itself shows the Tower nearing completion. The top of the Tower is already in the clouds symbolising the Heavens. Work, however, is still continuing. We can see, in the left hand foregroundthat a King, or someone in authority is being shown the work in progress, close by, stonemasons are cutting and dressing blocks of stone. There are other signs of activity: In the foreground, ships arearriving, blocks of stone are being winched up from the level of the docks to the first and second tiers; in the central part of the construction, scaffolding is being erected. There are signs ofactivity everywhere. It is thus obvious that the tower depicted in this painting is the tower before divine intervention. The workmen are still cooperating, working together. They can still communicate.Another detail which marks this painting is the artist’s choice of architecture. The town depicted to the left of and behind the tower is built according to the style which was contemporary to the...
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