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dream_weaver

Symbolic Owl in Art

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On 12/18/2010 at 10:30 AM, dream_weaver said:

From Wikipedia:

(Spanish:El sueño de la razón produce monstruos') is an etching made by the Spanish painter and printmaker Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes. Etched between 1797–1799,[1] it is plate 43 of the 80 etchings comprising the Los Caprichos series and was initially intended to be the frontispiece.[2]
It consists of a self-portrait of the artist with his head on a table, as owls and bats surround him, assailing him as he buries his head into his arms.[3] Seemingly poised to attack the artist are owls (symbols of folly) and bats (symbols of ignorance)

It would seem that owls, as a symbol of wisdom, is a rather recent phenomena.

A bust of Ayn Rand would be fitting.

Francisco_Jos%C3%A9_de_Goya_y_Lucientes_

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes
The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters

76914833_10220980227205861_1155466843960

One figure down, five to go... Bryan Larsen

Rather than a recent development of owls as a symbol of wisdom, Owl of Athena had spread its wings in Greek mythology.

As a philosophical metaphor, further down the Wikipedia page, Rand's ability to "see in the dark" was adequately demonstrated with her theory of concepts and laying an ethical foundation.

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I doubt the owl represents folly. It is one of three depicted night predators, which together symbolize unchecked fantasy. When reason leaves you, fantasy preys upon your mind. A broader interpretation would probably be a stretch without further context or guidance from the artist.

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Had I dug into the symbology more back in 2010, I might have encountered

Why is the owl considered a wise bird in the West and a symbol of foolishness in India?

Wikipedia, as a reference, often requires a little extra digging. Delving into some of the mythology introduces complexities of its own. When I saw Bryan's preliminary share of the painting he is working on, it struck me as odd to see the owl portrayed, stemming from my conclusion jumped to in 2010 of a correlation with monsters/folly, so I fielded a question, and reopened my investigation based on Bryan's response.

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Hieronymus Bosch’s Creepy Owls

A western painter who included many owls in his works.

I was raised in a Baptist household, and grew up with the more benevolent view of the owl as a symbol of wisdom. Bosch conveys his owls oft in a less favorable light.

And just now, the recollection of an old commercial that crosses the wisdom of the owl with the impatience of a child.

 

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Owl - Dream meaning and symbolism

One last link with a bridge to tarot reading, art, and a few movies.

Once again, this served as a reminder of the recent usage of the crystal owls used by the Court of Owls in the Gotham series. The secret organization imposing their will on society, and the secrets cast into the crystal owls that were revealed by shining a light onto them.

Rand's words at the end of chapter 3 in The Romantic Manifesto about art, philosophy, the artist, and the patron come to mind.

When one learns to translate the meaning of an art work into objective terms, one discovers that nothing is as potent as art in exposing the essence of a man's character. An artist reveals his naked soul in his work—and so, gentle reader, do you when you respond to it.

 

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