|Dead bird of unknown species, help us identify it! |
October 2010 Sag Harbor, NY. Photo by Ellen Hanson
I wondered if this was an ominous sign and spent some time trolling the internet looking for meaning. At first I found nothing but silly sites with psychic readings for $10 but then I started turning up images of dead birds going way back. Seems they've been a topic of fascination with artists for quite some time.
|Albert Pinkham Ryder Dead Bird c. 1890|
The catalog of The Phillips Collection, The Eye of Duncan Phillips: a Collection in the Making calls Dead Bird a "powerful image," noting that it "explores a recurrent illusory theme: the coexistence of the corporeal and the ethereal."
|John Singer Sargent Studies of a Dead Bird 1878|
This appreciation has persisted into modern work as well.
Candace Bohannon on her Dead Bird "Though I go out walking in the woodlands often, it is rare for me to come across a recent carcass like this. The forest teems with creatures that dine on such fare, and I just happened to be the quickest scavenger that day."
|Candace Bohannon Dead Bird (one day study)|
2010 Oil on Board
|Petah Coyne Canto VIII, 2008|
Because of their connection to the sky, birds have often been thought of as a supernatural link between the Heavens and the Earth.
I don't know whether we had an undelivered message from the spirit world or a prosaic reminder of the impermanence of life, but as a next step in my meditation on this topic I plan to purchase some guidance