October 12, 2010

Solving a "mistery"

Die Zeit published a short interview I did to a "parrot behavior consultant". She pointed out to me that parrots were brought from Africa to Rome to be traded 2000 years ago. Allegedly, some species were more valued than slaves.

I had to reorganize the information I had on parrots, since till then I had had the idea that they were original from the Americas and Africa. But no.

This was a good hint for solving the "puzzle" of Fra Angelico's parrot-angels, which we thought were products entirely of his imagination. But again, no. Parrots were already known in Europe. It might well had been that Fra Angelico was the first one to paint such beautiful wings of angels. 

In his later days, young Piero della Francesca painted his famous Baptism of Christ (1448-1450), in which he depicts three winged angels. This is quite interesting, since one of the wings is in the parrot tradition of Fra Angelico: green, pink, blue. Maybe he did it on purpose as a wink to him, since the painting refers to the Council of Florence, where Fra Angelico had lived. The wing of the third angel is completely blue, but is transparent, so that it is possible to see the landscape through it.

The lenticular clouds are really great. These guys were such good observers of the sky!

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