Our Art / William Harnett / Plucked Clean

Enjoy Plucked Clean by William Harnett and hundreds more 4K artworks with the Depict Experience.
Plucked Clean by William Harnett on the Depict FramePlucked Clean by William Harnett
Plucked Clean by William Harnett

Plucked Clean, 1882

William Harnett

The subject of this still life is a dead rooster, freshly plucked, pimply and ready for the pot. It’s easy to believe that this creature was alive just a moment earlier — you can see feathers floating at lower right. The anatomical, scientific presentation of the dead bird makes sense: Darwin’s theories had sparked a fascination with factual illustration of nature. Artistic concerns are also evident: Harnett specialized in compositions designed to trick the eye into believing the representation is the actual object. There’s humor in it, too — the artist may have meant this scrawny carcass as a tongue-in-check send-up of after-the-hunt trophy portraits.

From the Playlist
Credit
National Gallery of Art
Sign up for our newsletter to stay current on new artworks, upcoming art shows, and more!
© 2019, Depict