The red junglefowl- Edward Neale - Hume and Marshall, Game Birds of India, Burmah and Ceylon (1879–1881) Art is a reflection of life. ...

Livestock Inspired Art

22 December 2016
The red junglefowl- Edward Neale - Hume and Marshall, Game Birds of India, Burmah and Ceylon (1879–1881)
Art is a reflection of life. Farm animals, like goats and chicken, that we raise for food have been a big part of our life since we began to domesticate them a few thousand years ago. Hence, understandably, they often appear in our art and craft. Let’s look at some works of arts in which hens, roosters, chicks and goats play the role of the artist’s muse.

1. Cockfighting

Cockfights are banned in most parts of the world, and rightly so, however, not long ago this sport was very popular and artists captured the fights between gamecocks through different mediums.

A Cockfight in Lucknow

Oil painting by Johann Zoffany (1784–1786). The painting depicts a cock match between Asaf-ud-daula, NawabWazir of Oudh (standing in the centre) and Colonel John Mordaunt (standing on the left in white).
Cockfight in London, c. 1808

Thomas Rowlandson (1756–1827) and Augustus Charles Pugin (1762–1832) (after) John Bluck (fl. 1791–1819), Joseph Constantine Stadler (fl. 1780–1812), Thomas Sutherland (1785–1838), J. Hill, and Harraden (aquatint engravers)
Cockfight, from Emile Claus (1882)

Emile Claus - S. Goyens de Heusch, L'Impressionnismeet le Fauvisme en Belgique, Antwerp 1988
Anonymous, Japanese - Cockfight
Cockfight Painting, 17th century
Sunday Cockfight at Madrid

Sunday Cockfight at Madrid, a wood engraving published in Harper's Weekly, September 1873.

2. Roman Mosaics

Chicken, which was widely consumed in Rome, was not only loved for its great-tasting meat but was considered to have prophetic powers, and also used for the sport of cockfighting.

Chicken and Seafood

Chicken and Fish hanging up in a cupboard, still-life. Mosaic, Roman artwork, 2nd century CE.From a villa at Tor Marancia, near the Catacombs of Domitilla
Rooster Mosaic

Mosaic depicting a rooster, C.E. 450–550, Roman Syria.
Gift of Professor and Mrs. Meyer Abrams, Location: Stewart Gallery
Vatican Persian Cock

A 1919 print of a fabric square of a Persian cock or a Persian bird design belonging to the Vatican (Holy See) in Rome dating to 600 CE. Notice the halo denoting the status of being holy in that religious schema.
Cockfighting Mosaic

In this ancient Roman mosaic, two cocks face off in front of a table displaying the purse 
for the winner between a caduceus and a palm of victory (National Archaeological Museum of Naples)
3. Chinese Chicken Porcelain and Painting

Emperor Chenghua, between 1464 to 1487, belonging to the Ming Dynasty, seems to have liked the use of chicken motifs in art. Two pieces of surviving art and craft lead one to believe that: a Chinese ceramic cup, designed with hens, cocks and chicks, made sometime during the reign of Emperor Chenghua, and a painting from the time of the Song Dynasty (960–1279) of a hen and her chicks which is inscribed with a written eulogy by Emperor Chenghua describing his fondness for this particular piece of art.

The Meiyintang ‘Chicken Cup’


Mother Hen and Chicks, Song Dynasty



4.  Chicken and Goat Paintings of Joseph Crawhall

Joseph Crawhall was an English painter who mainly painted birds and animals. The ones that often caught his imagination from the animal kingdom were none other than the chicken and the goat.

Spanish Cock And Snail

Joseph Crawhall III - Art Gallery and Museum, Kelvingrove, Glasgow, Scotland
Spangled Cock, 1903

Joseph Crawhall III - Sally Liddell: Sotheby's Art at Auction 1988-89. Sotheby's Publications, London 1989; S. 122. ISBN 0-85667-365-X
Hen and Chickens

Joseph Crawhall (1889), The Burrell Collection, Drawing - pastel
Black Spanish Cock

Joseph Crawhall (1893-1901), The Burrell Collection, Painting - gouache
The Black Cock

Joseph Crawhall (1894), The Burrell Collection, Painting - gouache
The Goat

 Joseph Crawhall (1889), The Burrell Collection, Drawing - pastel
The Goatherd

 Joseph Crawhall (1888), The Burrell Collection, Painting - watercolour
Goats on a Hillside - Tangier


The Goat

Joseph Crawhall (1893-1900), Scottish National Gallery - National Galleries of Scotland, Painting - gouache
5. Albert Bierstadt’s Painting

American painter, Albert Bierstadt, primarily painted landscapes. Occasionally, people and animals would feature in his paintings against these breathtaking landscapes. One such painting has a flock of mountain goats as its subject.

Rocky Mountain Goats



6. John Brett’s Painting

Another expert at landscapes is considered to be the British artist John Brett. In his detailed painting of Aosta Valley, Northwest region of Italy, we find a goat.

The Val d'Aosta, 1858


7. The Flag of Wallonia

Wallonia, a region in Belgium, uses the red rooster as a symbol of the Walloon identity. Walloon painter Pierre Paulus designed the Flag of Wallonia which features this the red bold rooster against a yellow background. 

Flag of Wallonia, Original: Pierre Paulus de Châtelet.

- The Fishvish Team


Image Credit: Cover
Image Credit: Cockfight in Lucknow
Image Credit: Cockfight in London
Image Credit: Cockfight from Emile Claus
Image Credit: Japanese Cockfight
Image Credit: Cockfight at Madrid
Image Credit: Chicken and Seafood
Image Credit: Rooster Mosaic
Image Credit: Persian Cock
Image Credit: Cockfighting Mosaic
Image Credit: Chicken Cup
Image Credit: Mother Hen and Chicks
Image Credit: Spanish Cock and Snail
Image Credit: Spangled Cock
Image Credit: Hen and Chickens
Image Credit: Black Spanish Cock
Image Credit: The Black Cock
Image Credit: The Goat
Image Credit: The Goatherd
Image Credit: Goats on a Hillside
Image Credit: The Goat
Image Credit: Rocky Mountain Goats
Image Credit: The Val d'Aosta
Image Credit: Flag of Wallonia
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