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The Fall of The Rebel Angels ⋆ Pieter Bruegel

At first sight you might not be able to recognise this painting. So let me give you a hint.

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This painting holds a place in a truly beloved MV by Bangtan; "Blood, Sweat and Tears".

I love this MV and I also love art so the painting caught my eye. I am not very knowledgeable so I couldn't understand many things about the painting so I did my research.

The painting is Pieter Bruegel's work. Pieter Bruegel The Elder is an artist of the Dutch Renaissance painting, mostly known for his landscapes and peasant scenes (also called genre paintings). Some of his popular works are "Children's Games" and "The Triumph of Death" in case you are interested.

This specific painting however differs from his other works. It's probably his only work with theological content. The painting portrays a battle, a battle between angels and distorted figures. As the name implies the creatures are rebelled angels following Lucifer as he falls from Heaven. As they fall on the Earth they turn into these distorted creatures made of animals and objects.

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Archangel Michael ⋆ Detail

At the center of the painting we recognise Archangel Michael dressed in a golden armour fighting a dragon. The angels in white and pale colours are his battalion following into battle. The spiral in the back are the never ending fallen angels falling into the earth.

The dragon that the Archangel is fighting is a very specific one. It is a creature mentioned in John's Revelation, the last biblical story about the end of the world. Trough the years this dragon merged with the image of Lucifer and are know considered the same being. So in the end it's Archangel Michael fighting Lucifer.

The contrast in the use of colours in the painting makes it's meaning even more prominent; a fight between good & evil. A subject very fitting to the music video But a question come to mind. Who's winning?

At first sight the angels have the upper hand. They are pushing the devils toward the newly created hell, while the leader of the battalion slays the rebelled Lucifer. Also let's pay attention to the demons. They are creatures ugly, distorted, weak. They have a ridiculous look to them. However their numbers are never ending. They take up up the biggest part of the painting and they seem to overflow the canvas.

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The fallen angels ⋆ Detail
"It is a most unromantic embodiment of sin."

So in Bruegel's side of the story it's actually the evil who prevails no matter how unethical and unusual it may sound.

But the choice makes sense, doesn't it? If you look back into "Blood, Sweat and Tears" you will see that such a painting is an exceptional choice. Let's not forget too that Lucifer's ( Light-Bringer's ) fall was caused by pride, one of the seven deadly sins, main theme of the Wings Era.

I am addicted to the prison that is you
I cannot worship
Anyone else besides you
I knowingly drank from the poisoned chalice

"And there was war in heaven Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. And the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

(Apocalypse 12:7)

Once again BTS and the people behind them amaze us with their attention to detail, their deep meanings and prioritization of the use of art in their work. A very small thing maybe, a painting with a few seconds of screen time but still a subject that amazes me endlessly.

  • A closer look at the MV
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Pay attention to the doors at either side of the painting and you will see that the direction of the video enhances it's meaning in relation to the painting.

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This kind of fall could also be a reference to Icarus fall ( also a subject related to pride and temptation ). Icarus' story has also been used by Bruegel in the Landscape with the Fall of Icarus which is seen later in the MV.

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Bibliography

⋆Google Arts & Culture
⋆Pieter Bruegel Wiki
⋆The Fall of the Rebel Angels

Also for classical music lovers:
⋆ Passacaglia in D Minor
This is the sample used in the MV. Enjoy ♡