Ornament with Owl Mocked by Day Birds

Martin Schongauer German

Not on view

Martin Schongauer concealed a sinister narrative within this lively pattern of Gothic leaves. Six birds tucked throughout the ornament caw in derision at an owl, which carries a small bird in its beak. During the late fifteenth century in northern Europe, the carnivorous owl was often associated with negative concepts, such as sin and greed.

Ornament with Owl Mocked by Day Birds, Martin Schongauer (German, Colmar ca. 1435/50–1491 Breisach), Engraving

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