Chickens and Roosters in Art and Illustration

ACHTER DE BERGEN (1979) Lilo Fromm

Chickens have been (and still are) immensely important to human evolution. No surprise they feature large in art and illustration.

Mark Fisher Feeding the Fowls exhibited 1920
Feeding the Fowls exhibited 1920 Mark Fisher 1841-1923
Peder Mork Mønsted, Primavera em uma vila 1924
Marc Chagall, Village Street
Niroot Puttapipat – The Red Fairy Book
Jan Mankes (Dutch, 1889 – 1920) White Rooster
Milo Winter The Aesop for Children 1919 cock and fox
Cover by Walter Goetz, 1959
Cover of the July 1918 issue of Vogue magazine
Felt Smelt Warren Dayton Poetry Poems c1964 what is a fowl with measles (Stricken Chicken)
Ida Waugh (1846-1919, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) for the book Bonny Bairns, with verses by Amy Blanchard, 1888
Vintage Easter postcard circa 1910, artist unknown
J.P. (John Parr) Miller (1913–2004) title page illustration for Margaret Wise Brown’s Wonderful Story Book, Simon & Schuster, 1948
J.P. (John Parr) Miller (1913–2004) title page illustration for Margaret Wise Brown’s Wonderful Story Book, Simon & Schuster, 1948
Take Care of the Green Friend Soviet environmental poster, 1969
Florina and the Wild Bird
Folk tales of Flanders (1918)- Jean de Boschère
金のニワトリ ポガニー 1954 The Golden Chicken
うさぎとおんどりときつね レーベデフ 1977
みんなでおはよう 1989
The cock with the crimson comb 1976 A Karelian Fairy Tale
COUNTRY GENTLEMAN Magazine DECEMBER 1928 boost egg production (advertisement, detail)
Benjamin Rabier (1913) rooster
Sven Nordqvist Swedish children’s illustrator and writer Pettson and Findus
Helena J. Maguire, British (1860-1909). Mrs Henny Penny asks a rabbit for food.

The Tale Of The Golden Cockerel by Alexander Pushkin, Illustrations By Ivan Bilibin (first published in English by J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd, London 1976).

Sergio Ruzzier explores the discomfort which comes from liking chickens, knowing their personalities and eating them.
Helmut Bischoff
Rimsky-Korsakov - Le Coq d'Or Ballet Suite - Sir Eugene Goossens and the Philharmonia Orchestra illustration by David Leonard
Rimsky-Korsakov – Le Coq d’Or Ballet Suite – Sir Eugene Goossens and the Philharmonia Orchestra illustration by David Leonard
'Excerpts from the ballets..' -Royal Opera House Orchestra Covent Gardens conducted by Charles Mackerras chicken
‘Excerpts from the ballets..’ -Royal Opera House Orchestra Covent Gardens conducted by Charles Mackerras chicken
Felix Lorioux (1872–1964), French Illustrator Chanticleer
Walter Crane c 1888 Leaves From Beatrice’s Book of Beauties chicken
Walter Crane c 1888 Leaves From Beatrice’s Book of Beauties chicken
Adrienne Segur The cat and the sick chicken from Le Chat Jérémie et autres histoires de chats (The cat Jeremie and other stories of cats), 1967
Adrienne Segur The cat and the sick chicken from Le Chat Jérémie et autres histoires de chats (The cat Jeremie and other stories of cats), 1967
Illustration by Vsevolod Nicouline, 1953
Schenley Whiskey c.1940's Art by Roy Huse Collins rooster
Schenley Whiskey c.1940’s Art by Roy Huse Collins rooster
From 'Fortune Telling for Everyone'
From ‘Fortune Telling for Everyone’
Illustration by Ida Waugh (1856-1926) for the book ′Tell Me A Story′ c 1888 chickens
Andrew Loomis (1892–1959)
Andrew Loomis (1892–1959)
Peder Mørk Mønsted (1859 – 1941) A Cottage Garden With Chickens 1919
An illustration for the month of July from the book Chicken Soup With Rice A Book of Months written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak Nutshell Library Series, published by HarperCollins, New York, 1962
Saul Steinberg
Clarence Coles Phillips (1880 – 1927)
The Henry Altemus ‘We Books for We Folks’ included The Little Wise Chicken That Knew It All with 29 color plates by Duffield, Kenneth Graham [1873-1946], published in 1918 from Philadelphia
Illustration of Colditz by Gertrud Caspari, in which the village takes on the colours of the rooster (because the rooster owns the joint). Castle Colditz is a Renaissance castle in the town of Colditz near Leipzig, Dresden and Chemnitz in the state of Saxony in Germany. 
DE NACHTMANNETJES (1946) Eetie van Rees rooster sunrise
DE NACHTMANNETJES (1946) Eetie van Rees rooster sunrise
Walter Hunt - Waiting to be Fed chickens
Walter Hunt – Waiting to be Fed chickens
Jules Verne's Around the Moon 1870 illustration by Emile Bayard gravity chickens
Jules Verne’s Around the Moon 1870 illustration by Emile Bayard gravity chickens
Helen Allingham - Buckinghamshire House at Penstreet chickens
Helen Allingham – Buckinghamshire House at Penstreet chickens
Myles Birket Foster - Girl Outside a Cottage chickens
Myles Birket Foster – Girl Outside a Cottage chickens
Peder Mørk Mønsted cottage chickens
Peder Mørk Mønsted cottage chickens
Story Land (published by Paul Hamlyn, London 1960) chicken Mary Blair
Jessie Willcox Smith (1863-1935)
Helen Oxenbury. It's My Birthday chickens
Helen Oxenbury. It’s My Birthday chickens
Alois Carigiet rooster 1948
Easter Wishes Victorian postcard chicken
Easter Wishes Victorian postcard chicken
Chickens From L'animal dans la Décoration (1897) by Maurice Pillard Verneuil (1869–1942), French artist and decorator in the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movement
Chickens From L’animal dans la Décoration (1897) by Maurice Pillard Verneuil (1869–1942), French artist and decorator in the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movement
Marie-Madeleine FRANC-NOHAIN [1878-1942] Alphabet In Pictures 1933 girl feeding chickens
Marie-Madeleine FRANC-NOHAIN [1878-1942] Alphabet In Pictures 1933
Camille Pissarro. View from my Window, Éragny-sur-Epte, 1888
Arkady Sher
Mario Broggi 1922
Chickens and Chicks 1908
Chickens and Chicks 1908

FURTHER READING

Children’s Stories Featuring Chickens

The Chicken Book by Garth Williams

Mr Chicken Goes To Paris by Leigh Hobbs

Roosters and Harlequin

The chanters or chorus often wore masks. Eventually one person, a character who was associated with the Phallus, the symbol of fertility surrounding the Dionysus worship, began the practice of interacting with the chorus. Over time, another character was added to express the God/hero and eventually yet another, as the unheroic comic or komos reveller.

A ludicrous figure with distorted mask, padded belly and buttocks and a large artificial phallus. In keeping with this costume the language of the dialogue was full of frank obscenity, a feature of ordinary life. The procession initially sang unison hymns in a horse-shoe formation round a central alter of Dionysus. Gradually these hymns evolved into interactive secular stories.

“They were enlivened by the antics of the satyrs – half men, half goats – who were the attendants of Dionysus.”

The costume of the comic actor was, as might be expected, less hampering, since he needed to be something of an acrobat. He usually wore soft slippers (socci), flesh-coloured tights and a short tunic, grotesquely padded. Masks were exaggerated for comic affect. The attendants of Dionysus in the satyr play wore short furry breeches to which was attached a tail.

It appears that the requirement for early comics to be nimble is a tradition, which has evolved and been folded into the term, harlequinesque. However the attributes of the cock is also a consideration. Hugill, tells us along with the wearing of animal heads, some clowns wore the popular cocks’ head. “The cock was considered a stupid, vain and libidinous creature and the character wearing this headdress would be interpreted as having the same traits.”

Dressing and Undressing The Harlequin

Header art: ACHTER DE BERGEN (1979) Lilo Fromm