ICHTHYOSAURUS, ANNUNCIATION LILIES, AND ANGEL WINGS
oil on panel
48 x 72 in
This fossilized Ichthyosaur died while giving birth. A dolphin-like creature, it is here depicted alongside a stylized wave (such as the Japanese woodcut artist Hokusai might have designed) and large barnacles (which were not only the subject of exhaustive research by Charles Darwin, but also here visually echo human female anatomy associated with birth). The flowers are Annunciation lilies, and the shells (Cyrtopleura costata) are commonly known as angel wings. Taken together, the images suggest this painting is an Annunciation theme, as was common in Christian iconography when Mary is informed by an angel that she will give birth to Jesus.
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