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       Updated:2017-02-23      Text:Large /  Medium  /  Small  

Roosters in Western paintings

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.

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

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.

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!"