A few weeks after its creation, this painting of a man relaxing in the grass, believed to be one of the largest ever, will disappear forever.

Photo by Alain Grosclaude/AFP/Getty Images.

Artist Saype said that his painting, entitled "What Makes a Great Man," is an attempt to reflect on the "relationship between human beings and nature."


The piece is 100% biodegradable, composed completely from materials Saype mixed himself.

Saype. Photo by Alain Grosclaude/AFP/Getty Images.

The media used to complete the fresco include flour, linseed oil, water, and natural pigments.

Saype chose Leysin, Switzerland, for the site, where the giant painting would be dwarfed by the mountains surrounding it.

"The idea is to paint a huge man compared to the real size of a man but really small compared to the mountains, the world," he said.

Saype conceived the project three years ago, and it required weeks of backbreaking labor to compete.

Photo by Alain Grosclaude/AFP/Getty Images.

Finishing the fresco required Saype to walk up and down the hill multiple times a day and paint very rapidly, often in an attempt to beat the rain.

At the end of each day, he filmed his progress with a drone to pick out mistakes and allow him to adjust if necessary.

As the grass grows and the rain falls, Saype's man will slowly warp, fade, and disintegrate.

Photo by Alain Grosclaude/AFP/Getty Images.

According to Saype, the painting's temporary existence is central to its design.

"The fact that it is short-lived reflects the idea that all is impermanent, nothing in our life lasts forever," he said.

Saype hopes the painting will inspire discussion about humanity's responsibility toward its environment.

Photo by Alain Grosclaude/AFP/Getty Images.

"I read ... some publications where scientists were saying that we are in a critical period where our generations are not aware about the disaster that they trigger on the ecosystem," he said. "In many years we will reach a non reversible point where it will be too late to get disengaged."

A 2014 United Nations panel concluded that drastic cuts to greenhouse emissions worldwide would be necessary to reverse, or slow, the effects of climate change. An agreement signed the following year commits the 197 signatories to hold global temperature rise under two degrees Celsius.

Saype explained that he began doing land art, in part, to make people question their role in shaping their surroundings.

"I am not a fervent ecologist," he said. "But it is a theme that I am interested in and I think that my generation must be more aware it."

Photo by Alain Grosclaude/AFP/Getty Images

What does he hope the painting will inspire in viewers' attitude toward nature?

"A touch of humility."

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

When schools closed early in the spring, the entire country was thrown for a loop. Parents had to figure out what to do with their kids. Teachers had to figure out how to teach students at home. Kids had to figure out how to navigate a totally new routine that was being created and altered in real time.

For many families, it was a big honking mess—one that many really don't want to repeat in the fall.

But at the same time, the U.S. hasn't gotten a handle on the coronavirus pandemic. As states have begun reopening—several of them too early, according to public health officials—COVID-19 cases have risen to the point where we now have more cases per day than we did during the height of the outbreak in the spring. And yet President Trump is making a huge push to get schools to reopen fully in the fall, even threatening to possibly remove funding if they don't.

It's worth pointing out that Denmark and Norway had 10 and 11 new cases yesterday. Sweden and Germany had around 300 each. The U.S. had 55,000. (And no, that's not because we're testing thousands of times more people than those countries are.)

The president of the country's largest teacher's union had something to say about Trump's push to reopen schools. Lily Eskelsen Garcia says that schools do need to reopen, but they need to be able to reopen safely—with measures that will help keep both students and teachers from spreading the virus and making the pandemic worse. (Trump has also criticized the CDCs "very tough & expensive guidelines" for reopening schools.)

Keep Reading Show less