“The Fall of Icarus”, by Hendrick Goltzius, is one of my all-time favorite images by one of my all-time favorite artists. (Click on the picture to see it much enlarged, which is crucial to its appreciation.) The piece is from a series of four similar engravings called “The Four Disgracers” (great name for a rock band), printed in 1588 and now on view at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. I love the tiny figure of Daedalus, still safely bewinged in the far background, and the gormless expression of his teenage son, tumbling to earth after flying too close to the sun. The funny thing is that this image, which feels like classic Goltzius, was in fact based on a design by the painter Cornelisz van Haarlem. I don’t know if that means I need to downgrade my rating of Goltzius or increase my praise for Cornelisz van Haarlem – both hard for me to do.
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