The Mad Meg theme is based around one of my favourite paintings, Dulle Griet. It a dark theme to match the subject matter of the painting and is ideal for blogs on political satire, art, poetry or any dark writing especially that poking fun at the establishment. The theme is free under a GPL license and all the artwork used in the theme is from the painting.
You can download this theme from the WordPress Theme Directory, here.
I would love to hear from people using the theme and welcome feedback, good or bad.
- Fixed width
- Two Column, with a wide right hand sidebar
- Integrated menu
- Three Sidebar Areas (two in the right column and a small area in the header)
- Support for galleries, captions, comment threading, sticky posts, multiple pages and so on
About the Painting
Dulle Griet was painted in around 1564. Dulle Griet is a mad peasant woman from a old Flemish proverb (loosely translated into the English as Mad Meg). In the painting Mad Meg stands in the centre with in her peasant dress with a breastplate, helmet and huge sword from a solider of the time. She is racing towards the mouth of hell still holding baskets of everyday items such as pots and pans.
Here she is perhaps acting out a Flemish proverb:
She could plunder in front of hell and remain unscathed.
All around her all hell is breaking loose literally; people are becoming mutant monsters, the land is laid to waste. Even the army, known to pillage all and sundry, is cowed before her and her own army of women. This is, I think, the most interesting aspect of the painting. It becomes a “pop art” warning of its time, to an invading army.
The artist, Pieter Bruegel, is thumbing his nose at the establishment, saying “you can persecute us and plunder our land only so much before you unleash a force unmatched by hell itself”. Given that “peasant power” was non existent in comparison to the might of the army and the church, this was more wishful thinking on his part than a genuine call to arms. In the end, his audience being the rich and famous, the painting is more a moral poke in the eye than a serious attempt at subversion.
The painting is also tremendous fun. With a grisly mouth of hell, complete with the dammed flowing under the pointy teeth in a river of blood; hideous people turned half to barrels, or bottoms or various animals. Then there is the army of ladies mowing down the regular army with ease, while Meg collects the various plundered goods. There is so much to see in this painting. Look carefully in the sky to find winged devils or in the centre to find what looks like sunbathers drinking cocktails on a beach.
You can see the painting in Antwerp at the Museum Mayer van den Berg.
About the Artist
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c1525-1569) a painter who has successfully combined the popular culture (of his time) with high art. Thus we have some insight into the thoughts, beliefs, rituals and games of the normal everyday folk as well as political and religious satire cleverly woven into his paintings. This later element was always ambiguous and must have appealed greatly to those who could afford his paintings at the time. There was considerable risk in poking fun at both church and state. Death being the only likely result, yet somehow he seems to have escaped and his paintings remain un-burned. I think he painted for his audience carefully. Allowing them to show one side publicly and laugh quietly in private at the subversive side.
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