Saturday, September 16, 2017

A bird in a hand, painting by Natasa Vretenar

Another idiom in English that I think of periodically is "A bird in a hand is worth two in the bush". Similar idiom in Serbo-Croatian is "A sparrow in hand is worth more than a pigeon on the branch".
It warns against taking risks and suggests that you should keep what you have and not risk losing it by going after more. The other reading of the meaning is that it refers to medieval falconry where a bird in the hand (the falcon) was a valuable asset and certainly worth more than two in the bush (the prey). It may well be that both of these meanings were intended by the coiners of this phrase, which may go some way to explaining why it has resonated over the centuries and is still in common use.

This painting only has hands in it so it is not quite a figure painting, but when I thought of a composition for this painting this image popped into my head and voila. Here it is.

 

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