Painting of Heath Hen
Dispatch from National Museum of Wildlife Art
On a break from installing my sculptures at this beautiful museum, I find myself standing in front of this marvelous painting by Alexander Pope. I have always loved Trompe l’oeil painting for the complex relationship it has to the physical world.
The text panel is wonderful with its reference to "the bounty of the American wilderness." There is, however, one error. This is a depiction of Heath Hens, a species driven to extinction in 1932. Our symbols of bounty are becoming symbols of loss.
- Todd McGrain