Roosters in Western paintings

By Bi Nan(
Updated: 2017-02-08 07:00:02

According to the Chinese lunar calendar, this year is the Year of Rooster. The rooster is a common animal and has appeared in many paintings. It is not only depicted by many Chinese painters, but also emerges in Western artwork. Let's take a look at roosters in Western art.

Peter's Denial, 6th century BC [Photo/]

The mosaics at the Church of Saint Apollinare in Italy depict a scene in the Bible that Jesus predicted: The Apostle Peter (the figure at right) would, before the rooster crowed at dawn, three times deny being a follower of Jesus.

Coat of Arms with Lion and Rooster, by Albrecht Durer, 1503 [Photo/]

This print depicts a rooster standing on a helmet, and below there is another helmet decorated with a lion totem. The drawing by Durer, who was outstanding painter and printmaker, dates from the Renaissance.

Diogenes, by Ugo da Carpi, 1520-30 [Photo/]

This artwork depicts the Greek philosopher Diogenes, seated on his barrel and reading from an open book near his feet while a plucked hen stands at right.

Diogenes lived a very plain life and all he owned was a barrel, a cloak, a stick and a bread bag. The chicken at right is a reference to his mocking response to Plato's definition of man as a featherless biped. Diogenes is said to have presented a plucked chicken, saying, "Here is Plato's man!"

Still Life with Game, Vegetables, Fruit and a Cockatoo, by Adriaen van Utrecht, 1650 [Photo/]

Adriaen van Utrecht was good at still life painting and portraying animals vividly, whether they were in the kitchen or on the dining table.

Hens and Rooster, by Aelbert Cuyp, 1651 [Photo/]

Painter Aelbert Cuyp from the Netherlands portrayed many pastoral scenes and preferred to portray carefree animals lit by the soft sunshine.

Garden Path with Chickens, by Gustav Klimt, 1916 [Photo/]

This painting depicts a summer scene in Weissenbach, a town in Austria, in which strolling roosters are surrounded by greenery.

The Cock of Liberation, by Pablo Picasso, 1944 [Photo/]

This brightly colored painting expresses France's joy of regaining its freedom after Nazi occupation. France was once called "Gallia", which means "rooster" in Latin, so the rooster became a symbol of France. This might be the reason Picasso chose the rooster as a major symbol in this painting.

Variation of Sorrow, by René Magritte, 1957 [Photo/]

The seemingly sorrowful hen in this painting stares at an egg.

Chicken and Christ, by Salvador Dali, 1973 [Photo/]

Artist Salvador Dali published a book in 1973 in which he illustrated more than 100 imaginative recipes for his wife. Among them, this painting features a dish combining roast chicken and Veronica's veil imprinted with the face of Jesus.

Related: Lovely roosters depicted by Chinese painters


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