During the Protestant Reformation sacred images, idolatry, traditional image, and devotion to Biblical figures were the inspiration for many northern artists. The artists found other ways to portray the images and figures in their artwork. This reformation brought an end to the Roman Catholic unity. It was a response to the sense that administrators of the Roman Catholic Church had become corrupt and were abusing the power that was bestowed upon them. The reformation brought about satirical portrayals of traditional religious beliefs and ideals. The Blind Leading the Blind by Peiter Brueghal exhibits the concepts of denying Biblical figures and idols, and mans individual relationship with God.
The Blind Leading the Blind brings the parable “And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” to life. Using satire, Brueghal paints five beggars holding a rope. The first of the beggars has fallen off of the road exemplifying the concept of Biblical reference without using the Biblical figure Christ, or any other biblical figures or idols. The painting also shows that fools go aimlessly into danger. The men are painted in a satirical way, made to look unintelligent. Most blind people would know that they could not lead others successfully along a sighted path. The painting shows the first man falling into a hole, the next man is about to fall and will certainly follow the first one directly into the hole. The rest of the men will follow the first one because there’s no one who is knowledgeable enough to lead them. The painting shows that people do need someone to lead them who possesses more knowledge than they do, or they will fall. People need a leader, someone such as God. This idea is depicted without direct reference to God or any other biblical figures.
Mans individual relationship with God is depicted throughout the painting. The painting displays the different emotions the men feel by the expression on their faces, which range from shock to surprise and then to trust. The church that is painted in the background sends the message that people should not blindly follow leaders who lead them away from the church. If they do so, they will end up in peril. The men following the leader who has fallen also shows that man must have a relationship with God, not man. Men will surely lead one another astray. God will never fail.
The Protestant reformation brought about many changes in the art world. Beliefs were displayed in art straying from the traditional repertoire of subjects and developing new ones. The Blind Leading the Blind by Pieter Brueghal is a great example of the concepts denying Biblical figures and idols, and mans individual relationship with God. The painting succeeds in doing this using satire and non-traditional figures and ideals.