Tower Of Babel by Marten Van Valckenborch I

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Tower Of Babel by Marten Van Valckenborch I

Painting NameTower Of Babel
Painter NameMarten Van Valckenborch I
Size97.8 x 68.6 cm (3' 2½" x 27.01")
Current LocationPrivate collection


The whole story of Tower of Babel concludes as the reason of the different languages on earth. The tower of babe is the reason, the face of earth adheres so many different languages, totally dissimilar to each other.

Story of babel goes like this in Book of Genesis: People with one language and similar mentality coming from east sets out a quest to build a tower so high, which could reach the skies, or ‘the heavens’ as some descriptions says. Gods didn’t like this and thought it as a dishonor. To stop them, some of the gods came down on earth and scattered the people building the tower on the different part of the world and giving them different languages. Thus, they stopped making the tower. That’s the reason of all the languages existing on earth according to the book of Genesis.

The current depiction represents the city, the tower and the people who built both. The work of the tower is in progress while the city around it is complete for living. People in the foreground are breaking up the ground and the mount on the left for the required stones. Ships near the city, anchored are also bringing the requisite goods. In the background, similar labor seems to be happening.

The painting represents the mythical story in the middle of its progress. The gods hasn’t descended on to the earth yet. The built tower looks intact from their wrath and people are all doing their jobs to reach the ‘skies’.

The allegory is depicted by many other artists. The philosophy of the story and the painting seems to me as an attempt to reach the god or the desire to equal the god and as a result bearing the wrath of gods.

Does the represented mythology is saying that men can never be equal to god? Does it deem upon men as mere creatures and thus, keeping men apart from god instead of believing them as the part of gods?

Executed by the Flemish Renaissance painter, the works easily comprises the quality of being a renaissance art-piece.


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