Key words: caged, confined, seized, controlled, dominated
L) The Goldfinch, 1654 by Carel Fabritius. At The Frick Collection, on special loan from The Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague.
R) Magnolia Warbler (Dendroica magnolia), 2007. Photo by Todd R. Forsgren.
I recently went to see the Dutch Masters exhibition at The Frick Collection in NYC. While dozens waited in line on that cold and rainy day to see The Girl with the Pearl Earring, I had another painting in mind – The Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius. As my friend Melanie recently noted, its an avian obsession. I was captivated by the painting for quite awhile, equally entranced by the craft of the painter, as well as the shackled subject itself. It readily reminded me of some works I own (three, actually) by photographer Todd Forsgren. In contrast to the seemingly resigned goldfinch, Forsgren's subjects appear fearful or angry. Ironically, these birds, caught in mist nets by data-gathering ornithologists, are unharmed and soon released into the wild.