Birds in Art

Birds by Franz Marc. 1914

B Birds are one of the most fascinating, symbolic subjects in Art. We can easily track the artistic images of birds from ancient times in many world cultures. Early images of birds with a sacred meaning refer to the Upper Paleolith.

Birds in Art
Bella Unica Choice

Nebamun Hunting in The Marshes

Ancient Egyptian frescoes bring to live some exquisite examples. Here is an image of Nebamun Hunting in the Marshes, a fragment of a scene from the tomb-chapel of Nebamun. Beautiful images of the birds and a cat among the papyrus stems. The fresco is filled with lively details. They are freely and delicately painted, suggesting the pattern and texture of the bird’s wings.

Birds in Art

Late 18th Dynasty, around 1350 BC

The Bird’s Concert

The Baroque period brought us a masterpiece by Franc Snyders. He created this dynamic and powerful piece “The Bird’s Concert.” You can almost hear the loud symphony and cacophony of different sounds.

Birds in Art

The Bird’s Concert by France Snyders. 1630-1640

The Goldfinch

In 1654, Carel Fabritius painted his famous chained goldfinch. This oil painting on panel became an inspiration and a book cover for The Goldfinch, the third novel by American author, Donna Tartt. The novel won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, among other honors. And, made this little one even more famous.

Birds in Art

The Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius. 1654

Blue Jay, Goldfinch, Baltimore Oriole

Artists who dedicated their work to birds played an important role in increasing interest in these creatures. In the XVII-XVIII centuries, illustrated works on natural science by John Ray and Francis Willoby. In the XIX century were published. Alexander Wilson achieved outstanding success in creating detailed and educational images of birds.


Blue Jay, Goldfinch, Baltimore Oriole by Alexander Wilson. 1829


Franz Marc believed animals possessed a certain godliness that men had long since lost. “People with their lack of piety, especially men, never touched my true feelings,” he wrote in 1915. “But animals with their virginal sense of life awakened all that was good in me.” By 1907 he devoted himself almost exclusively to the representation of animals in nature. ‘Birds’ shows Marc’s interest in the symbolic nature of art. The painting’s strong columns of light in bold and bright colors move up and out, creating a sense of Freedom. The subject matter of birds in flight could also be seen as symbolic of messengers of the gods, and with the First World War breaking, out this painting shows at once both a hope while also conveying an idea of a fractured world.

Birds in Art

Birds by Franz Marc. 1914

Dove of Peace

Birds like doves and bluebirds became symbols of happiness, new hope and peace, and is found in many cultures and beliefs.

Birds in Art

Dove of Peace by Pablo Picasso. 1949

Flight and Imagination

In this monotype print, artist Linda Roberts is capturing a picturesque scene of the onion-shaped domes where two birds soar above in a flirtatious dance over a cathedral.  A flower is being bestowed to a loved one as enchantment is in the air. Magic reigns supreme.

Flight and Imagination

Contemporary Art. Flight and Imagination by Linda Roberts. 2008

Flight and Imagination by Linda Roberts is available in our online Art Gallery. Click HERE!

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