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represent a galloping horse until the camera supplied evidence with images frozen while the beast was in successive stages of action, so Audubon often did not represent birds as they actually appeared at any precise moment of activity - as he tried to do. And he had no understanding of the mechanics of flight to inform his art. Thus, too, Audubon's dead models were of course expressionless. He was a man of his times, a romantic, and to revivify the countenances of the models, without benefit of photographic images and close-up observations provided by binoculars to guide him, he gave them facial "expressions" suggesting human feelings appropriate to their situations anger, terror, affection, pity, lust and other emotions that birds are not given to or, at least, do not feel or show in such ways. (The famous English painter Sir Edwin Landseer did much the same thing in the anthropomorphic expressions he gave to his dogs and stags.) Audubon's public responded to the personal relationship, however specious, that he thus established between birds and men, and still does for the most part. It no doubt accounts in some fair measure for his popularity. Audubon never did become a conservationist as the word is understood these days. As time passed, he became increasingly aware that the wilderness world he had known so well was rapidly vanishing before the plundering advance of civilization. His own role in conservation - a role, he wrote, that had been "allotted to him by nature" - was to record the likeness of all the birds of America in their primeval haunts before it was forever too late. This was conservation in the most empirical form and in pursuing his goal he won a larger and more popular audience than any other naturalist in history. A 20th C Framed Audubon print 'Pileated Woodpecker' signed 'New York Graphic Society Inc,'

John james audubon biography and life's work  
John james audubon biography and life's work  
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