Historical the fox has gained a reputation as being cunning, wily and sly. In fact Field-Marshell Rommel was known as the “Desert Fox”.
Foxes are not seen as evil in the same way as the wolf, they are considered roguish and caddish. The fox is represented in folklore as a trickster. One of Aesop’s Fables “The Fox and the Crow” illustrates this. It is a caution against listening to flatterers and goes like this….. The fox notices that a crow has a piece of cheese, he flatters the crow, telling him how beautiful he is and whether he has a beautiful voice to match his beautiful looks. The crow lest out a caw, the piece of cheese falls to the ground the fox eats the cheese. The earliest surviving versions of the fable, in both Greek and Latin, date from the 1st century.
This watercolour makes heavy use of two colours I love, qinacridone gold and rose madder genuine.
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There’s a lot of ancient mythical beasts which seem pretty isolated, unique to a country’s culture, or even to a specific region. Others, like mermaids, dragons, and giants, are intercultural, being known by many. The Phoenix is one of these mythical superstars, and was known by the Greeks, the Romans, the Egyptians, and even by the Chinese.
In the year 1500 BC, the Israelites who had settled in Egypt had significantly grown in numbers. So much so that the Pharaoh at the time grew fearful of them: paranoid that they would eventually take over. Forgetting that it was actually an Israelite by the name of Joseph - yes, the guy with the groovy coat - who had guided the Egyptian people away from famine a few hundred years earlier, the Pharaoh made all the Israelites slaves. Things then took a most heinous turn when the Pharaoh ordered the midwives to drown all male Hebrew babies at birth.