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John Audubon's bird paintings

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Doug, Jul 26, 2007.

  1. Doug


    Jan 17, 2006
    East TN
    I always associated the Audubon Society with such conservation efforts, and nature, imagine my surprise to learn about the man John Audubon, and the basis for his society being mass murder of birds, and mammals.

    Say what? It's true. It's how he got the excruciating detail in his paintings that made them so realistic looking and desired by Kings and Queens, and other elite. He didn't paint from memory, he didn't paint from a picture, he went out and killed the birds that he wanted to paint. Yuck, I bet that was some stinkin work when you think about it. He killed them with shot from a shotgun, (scatter gun maybe) so that hopefully nothing was really destroyed about the bird, but make no mistake, he killed what he painted.

    It was an interesting PBS story. In the end John Audubon did become more of a conservation minded man, as he began to realize, that you just can't gut the population of any species, and expect it to survive. The Passenger Pidgeon didn't survive the mass onslaught of killing for food. They also harvested eggs from some bird so frequently it may not have made it, not sure.

    Anyway, interesting story, this was how art was created when you didn't have a Nikon-

    Sadly, the special ended the bird segment talking about a Golden Eagle, that was captured alive, and how he tried to kill it by smoking it out, then I don't know what all, every time he went back and pulled the cover off, the bird would be staring at him. Sadly, he did kill the bird in the end for the painting.

    After he finished painting all the "Birds of America", he started painting the mammals. But his health began to fail, and I think his son had to mostly carry on this endeavor. As wealthy as he was in that day from success as a painter, eventually after his death, his wife died destitute and penniless.

    I never knew this history...

    PBS, check out out sometime, amazing what you can learn there.

    It's nice that today with photography, we can actually capture the wildlife in their native habitat, we don't have to recreate it. We don't have tl slaughter the creatures to archive them for future generations.

    edit Oh well, at least I thought it was interesting. :rolleyes: 
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2007
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