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  • Roberta Winchester

Owls as Inspiration in Mythology, Culture and Art

Those eyes!

From architectural embellishments to labels, to apparently woodpiles (!), and myriad other paintings and decorations, owls have been the subject of art since humans have been translating nature into images. Hieronymus Bosch regularly used owls in his art as have Indigenous cultures. Throughout the history of art, owls have been venerated as having positive attributes and powers such as wisdom, protection, and the powers of prophecy. They have also represented the opposite: ignorance, sin, the occult, an association with witchcraft, and a precursor to murder. With superstitions fading in the twentieth century, owls have returned to their position as a symbol of wisdom. Despite what you believe about owls, they are fascinating, beautiful, and make wonderful subjects for art and observation.



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