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Chicken on the table

worries of a chicken

In 2018 the artist Svyatoslav Ryabkin has painted a melancholy chicken in the painting called “Chicken on the table” (70x90 cm). In the open-air landscape the bright yellow feathers and dark red on the table and benches stand out on the electric blue section in the canvas. Light green frames the image in the middle, with the crowns of birch trees above and grass of the lawn below. Behind, the sky fades to fading soft pink. The artist achieves the desired effect of liveliness with these bright and contrasting colours!

The dense colour creates a thick layer of matter. It was streaked by the painter with the tip of his brush handle. This full of matter result is similar to tempera but it is an oil on canvas.

The Ukrainian painter loves animals and often represents them in their essential lines as if they were illustrations for children. This painting is perfect for a children bedroom, don't you agree? It represents the point of view of children: the chicken is positioned in the center of the painting and it has got a very big size.
However, everyone likes chickens, not just children. For example, inside a roundabout in Asiago town (in Italy) a metal sculpture of a life-size chicken welcomes visitors. Dear Readers, do you know that some make fun of chickens (but also of hens and chicks) decoratign them with tiny protective helmets as if they were motorcyclists?! So funny!

But now look at the chicken, it is embittered! He sees the first leaves on the ground after the end of the summer and they look like tears. He understand that autumn is coming and it fears the cold and the long winter snowfalls. The painter Ryabkin’s tender reflection animates the chicken. And it reminded me of other current events that may have caused its mood.

It is remembered as the "Battle of Cellina": during a night military exercise, a tank missed a shot and some bullets hit a farm full of thousands of chickens. With the collapse of a wall about fifty chickens died under the rubble and the blast of the impact (in Pordenone town in March 2021).

Then, there was the massacre of 4000 chickens due to a devastating fire in the shed dedicated to poultry farming in the Paduan municipality of Ponso (in April 2021).

It’s still, new cases of bird flu have been discovered in China (in June 2021). In 2016 the H7N9 strain killed about 300 people. The risk of becoming infected is greater working in contact with poultry; fortunately in Italy only cases of conjunctivitis occurred and they healed spontaneously.

And do we remember the number of intensive chicken farms? It all began a century ago when, due to a wrong supply, the famous "battery chickens" were born. Thus an unnatural mechanism has been triggered of having to guarantee the maximum production in the shortest possible time. This phenomenon initiated a genetic transformation of the raised animals. In fact, chickens with the largest breasts were artificially selected, they were fed on antibiotics and growth hormones, and hens were induced to lay eggs day and night by forcing their biological cycles. The result of this madness is the production of 75 billion eggs every year in the USA and the slaughter of 573 million chicken in Italy in 2020. If they could talk what would they tell us ...

Vivid colours, definite outlines of the subjects and the landscape without perspective as a background are the main characteristics of "Chicken on the table". The same peculiarities are also present in the works with roosters by the Vicentine (italian) painter Maurizio Viero. On the contrary, in the painting called “Lotta di galli” by the painter Antonio Ligabue the chiaroscuro of the subjects, meticulously reproduced with multiple shades, and the respect for the perspective make the observer feel realistically in the rural setting.

The painting "Chicken on the table" was exhibited in 2019 at the art exhibition “A casa dell'Artista” at the Villa Simion Gallery in Spinea (near Venice) and the following year at the exhibition “Un mare di vita” at Arman’s, cozy tavern in Treviso (in Italy).

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by Elena Sechet