A Moment of Truth
During my visit to The El Paso Museum of Art, an oil painting called The Crow Exposed caught my eye. It was by a Dutch painter, Melchoir d’Honecoeter, who was famous for his ability to portray various types of birds with such detail, liveliness, and uncommon realism. In the Aesop’s fable, The Vain Jackdaw, Jupiter declares that he will name the most beautiful bird as king of all birds. The black crow, longing to be made king of all birds, felt he wasn’t beautiful enough to be made king so he borrowed the discarded feathers of the more beautifully colored birds and wore them as his own. Jupiter takes notice of the proud crow’s unique beauty and as soon as he’s about to name the disguised crow as king, the other birds strip him of their own feathers and expose him as the bird he really is. The Crow Exposed illustrates the dramatic conclusion of the Aesop’s fable, The Vain Jackdaw, in which the crow is humiliated by being stripped of the feathers belonging to the other birds. In the painting, the artist gives the birds almost human like expressions which give an idea as to the thoughts and emotions of the birds, the use of color and shadowing that adds to the drama and mood of the scene by directing attention to where the action is unfolding, and the attention to detail of the many different types of birds ranging from common to exotic breeds. The almost human like expressions of the birds give a pretty clear idea as to their thoughts and emotions. The mob, of several types of birds surrounding the crow, looks angry as if they are frowning upon the crow’s actions. Their dark piercing eyes and leery stares also add to the human like expressions of the angry birds. Other birds within the mob also have their beaks open in protest. When looking at the crow, his human like facial expression indicates he’s scared and humiliated. He is clearly not happy about the position he is in and very well knows that the other birds are angry with him. The...
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