What Do Birds Symbolize In Art

What Do Birds Symbolize In Art?


Enamel birds sitting on branches, decorations on a wall.

Birds have been a popular art motif throughout the ages. With their bright plumage and cocked heads, they’re as charming to us as now as they were to people in ancient times—and just as likely to liven up our homes. But what do birds mean when they’re used in creative works? Explore the symbolism of birds in artwork with Wild Wings. 

Ancient Birds

The Lascaux cave paintings, painted in southwestern France between 15,000 and 17,000 years ago, feature many creatures, including birds. Ancient civilizations, from the Minoans to the Chinese to the Aztecs, have used bird motifs liberally. Let’s take a look at what some of that symbolism means.

Symbolism In Art

Many people are curious about bird motifs, which can have different meanings in artwork. These include:

  • Power: Eagles, hawks, and falcons symbolize power and dominance.
  • Family: When there is more than one in an image, it is easy to personify them as having human-like relationships, which they often do. Many mate for life, build their homes from scratch and lovingly raise young.
  • Wisdom: Ravens and owls typically personify intelligence and insight.
  • Freedom: Because they can fly, they are the ultimate symbol of freedom.
  • Beginning: Flight is the perfect way to symbolize the transition from a current situation to a new one.
  • Peace: Images featuring small and gentle hummingbirds, sparrows, or cardinals usually call to mind peace and harmony.

Avian Art Symbolism Today

Today, bird art is often bright, cheerful, and hopeful. As it always has, these images bring to mind values such as freedom, exploration, and lightness of being. Art symbolism is sometimes undeniable—such as a bird breaking free of a cage representing freedom, or quieter—such as a natural image of herons in a wetland representing a tender family moment. Either way, people have always used them in images to feel calm, inspired, and happy. Think of themes such as:

Check Out Wild Wings For Beautiful Art

Want more feathers in your life? Then we invite you to check out Wild Wings, the company that’s on a mission to provide nature lovers and outdoor sportspeople with all the wildlife you could want —and that includes plenty of beautiful avian art. Come check out our site to learn more today.

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1 comment

Came aware of your company’s honoring special Artis of wildlife, in greeting cards, one by Susan Bourdet, also I grew up with a father a avid fisherman and love of the great outdoors, thank you

Louis Both

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