Thursday, May 8, 2014

All Just Ravens and Crows

If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.
~Henry Ward Beecher


Today's post was a challenge I gave myself to look at crows and ravens artistically. Usually, they pretty much just creep me out. (Is E.A. Poe to blame? When I look at the coat of arms of the house of Schwarzenberg, I think perhaps not...) The title of this post comes from a song -- scroll to the bottom for the link.

eBird.org explains the difference between crows and ravens:
Ravens are larger than crows, with larger, thicker bills, stronger legs, longer, wedge-shaped tails, and more tapered, longer wingtips. In the air, they are more raptor-like, soaring for extended periods, unlike crows. They are often seen in pairs, and sometimes in large flocks (100+), but rarely occur in flocks of thousands like crows. Ravens have deeper, hoarser voices, and their characteristic call is a deep ‘rok!’ or ‘rok-rok-rok!’.
The Twa Corbies (or The Two Ravens)
by Arthur Rackham

Crows Fly by Red Sky at Sunset, c. 1880
by Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891)

Illustration from An Argosy of Fables, F. T. Cooper, ed.
by Paul Bransom

Before a Captured Russian Trench
by László Mednyánszky (1852–1919)

The Seven Ravens
by Heinrich Vogeler (1872–1942)

Portrait of Lydia Kuznetsova
by Ilya Repin (1844–1930)

Crow, swan, basilisk, pelican, phoenix. Detail from illustration of Basilica Philosophica, third volume of Johann Daniel Mylius’ Opus Medico-Chymicum, 1618
shared by Matthäus Merian

Fountain in the courtyard of Třeboň castle showing the coats of arms of the house of Schwarzenberg: A raven gnawing at Turkish heads.
photo by Wolfgang Sauber

And when I cried to my mother
She said it’s all ravens and crows
Baby, it’s all just ravens and crows
~Anya Hinkle, Dehlia Low


5 comments:

Retta said...

One of my favorite artists/illustrators is Arthur Rackham. Loved this one by him, hadn't seen it before.

HWY said...


We have a small flock of crows around our house, and they're fascinating to watch. Though, we do have to shoo them occasionally so the smaller birds can get at the food in our feeders.

These are *very* interesting art pieces, Tabatha. From the stunning (Zeshin) to the creepy (Schwarzenberg coat of arms) to the very sad (Mednyánszky [did you note that he died in 1919; a war casualty?]).

Thanks for a very different set today.

Tabatha said...

Always nice to hear from you, Retta. I checked on Mednyánszky's death, and Wikipedia says that he worked as a war correspondent during WWI: "In the spring of 1918 he returned to Strážky to recover from war wounds. After spending some time working in Budapest, Mednyánszky died in poor health in the spring of 1919, in Vienna."

Tabatha said...

The second part of that message was for HWY -- I meant to leave a space :-)

LInda Baie said...

I see fewer crows in my new home, but we had many at our old house. A crow protected a songbird once as we watched a hawk try for lunch! Interesting that they chose a side. Ravens were a bit cheeky at Yellowstone, & they're "huge", about the size of a toddler, & they walk around while one sits, looking for a snack! These are both wonderful and you're right, a little creepy. That woman's portrait-wow! I guess it was a pet?