An Introduction into Bird Painting – with history dating back to the Middle Ages

Mandy Eve-BarnettArt, Culture, Workshops

Spruce Grouse - Charity Dakin
Spruce Grouse by artist Charity Dakin

In light of the bird painting workshop with Charity Dakin on 4th and 5th of March, we wanted to delve into the subject a little further. Learn more or Register here 

The painting of birds represents a range of ideas including freedom, nobility, fertility, and bravery, but can also be omens for both good and ill. They are often used to symbolize a musician, or a poet as well.

Within Renaissance art, birds were thought of as representing sacrifice, resurrection, the soul or death. In particular the goldfinch was featured regularly to symbolize redemption and healing and has been illustrated in manuscripts and drawings since the Middle Ages. It was traditional for goldfinches to be released at Easter celebrations in Italy, reflecting the risen Christ. In fact, Raphael’s painting, Mary, Christ and the young John the Baptist, is also known as the “Madonna of the Goldfinch”.

When we look back even further to the ancient Egyptians, they believed birds were winged souls. Raptors in particular represent power, such as the bald eagle for the United States national symbol. Alternatively, doves are known to represent peace. One of the first artists to emerge with bird painting was Joh James Audubon in the 1800s. He was one of the first to portray birds and painted them with emotion and drama to reflect the peace and freeness they present in nature. Native Americans illustrate Eagles, Ravens, and Oystercatchers on drums and painted scenes. You will discover birds still exist even in modern contemporary art during Charity’s workshop

View more art by Charity Dakin or contact us for info.