The bird in art.
London: Merrell Publishers, 2012.
Quarto, dustwrapper, 276 pp. colour illustrations.
There has until now been no proper study of the bird in art, despite our fascination with birds, and despite the wealth of complex meanings associated with them in different cultures. A number of pagan gods are linked with birds, and dynasties and empires have adopted powerful birds as their symbols. Birds feature in numerous creation myths, and represent the human soul in many religions. We can trace bird imagery from the cave paintings of the Palaeolithic era to the present day, and across all world cultures: there are painted, drawn, mosaic, sculpted, embroidered and ceramic birds, and birds as marginal illuminations or the subject of meticulous ornithological studies. This exquisite new book investigates the significance of the bird in 250 beautifully reproduced works of art, both ancient and modern. Nine chapters - on such themes as the mythical bird, the Eastern bird and the domestic bird - explore in detail a rich and rewarding collection of paintings, prints, drawings and sculptures, creating a book that will enchant art lovers and anyone interested in ornithology.