Diving In: idiom art…Can you solve the mystery!

I enjoy a good mystery. I might even find myself researching and learning about famous conspiracies; partly because it’s intriguing and partly because my wife thinks she needs to solve every ‘mystery’ she comes across.

So, this week I wanted to find an art conspiracy or mystery.  What I found wasn’t the mystery I had in mind but it is fun, nonetheless. 

What I did find was a 1559 oil painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder called “Netherlandish Proverbs”.  It is also  known as “The Blue Cloak” or “The Topsy Turvy”. 

This painting is believed to have at least 112 identifiable proverbs and idioms. The artist is rumored to have painted in human folly as well.

Richard Marx said, “take a good look around and you’ll find people trying to mess with your mind.” I almost feel like that is the sole purpose for this art.

I have stared at this piece for a long time. I might have even forgotten what I was looking for a few times, confusing this with the infamous Where’s Waldo art.

But, what I did find was a man “swimming against the tide”. I also found “to bang one’s head into a brick wall”.

I might have even chuckled when I found “the world is turned upside down”. I mean, isn’t it ironic? The world is most definitely turned upside down right now. 


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Looking at this painting kind of reminded me of a show that my family has been enjoying. Wednesday evening ‘The Masked Singer’ finished, unmasking Nick Lachey as the winner and JoJo as the runner-up.

Each week, the contestants shared clues into their identity. I looked into those clues just as I did when trying to find famous proverbs in this painting.

I guess you can say I like these sorts of ‘puzzles’. 

I encourage you to spend some time studying this painting. The Her Blaze Family hopes that you will share with us all the idioms or proverbs you can find in “Netherlandish Proverbs”.

But let me warn you, it is addicting! I found the documented list and got lost trying to find each one. 

Since our last blog, we lost a hugely impactful, super famous artist, Eric Carle. Most people know him by his famous books, ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’.

Art can be very subjective. Many artists leave their mark on the world and yet most people never know their names.

That is definitely not the case here. Kids and adults alike all know and love Eric’s amazing books.

He lived a long and celebrated life. He passed away at 91.

As Justin Bieber said, “be humble, be grateful, give back, share, pay it forward, chase your dreams, go for it, and take a moment to remember where it is ALL from.”

That quote resonated with me because all of those sentiments are one’s Eric Carle encompassed. 


Thank You for reading Her Blaze Blog!

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