The Forest Fire

This is my favourite  painting in the Ashmolean Museum. I saw it again and realised why I like it so much. It’s because the bears look really cheesed off:

The Forest Fire (Piero di Cosimo, 1461-1522)
The Forest Fire (Piero di Cosimo, 1461-1522)
Fed up bears
See? Poor bears!

I know I shouldn’t like to see the poor bears looking so fed up, but their facial expressions are just so good. They really convey how tired the bears are and how upset they must have been to have had to leave their nice cosy dens and venture outside the forest. It makes an already interesting painting just that bit more engaging – that and the human faces that Piero di Cosimo drew onto some of the animals some years after he originally painted them. Apparently, he saw the forest fire as a symbol of regeneration, rather than of destruction and lived on a diet of hard boiled eggs.

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One thought on “The Forest Fire

  1. I love these facts! You were MADE to be a librarian, a woman who knows a lot of things. (The bears crack me up, as does knowing that there was an artist who lived on a diet of hard boiled eggs.)

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