Thomas Hovenden, Where the Robins Sing

Oil on canvas
Credit Line
Museum purchase, 2019
28 1/8 x 36 1/8 in.

A young woman pauses to listen to the birdsong in a clearing, her stance and arm gesture echoing the branches of a large, dramatic tree. The young woman is the artist’s teenage daughter Martha on the family property at the corner of Germantown Avenue and Butler Pike in Plymouth Meeting. The symbolic meaning remains a mystery. This could be the spring of her coming of age. The reference to the robin in the title is also suggestive. In Christian symbolism the robin represents saintly individuals who comfort the needy; it was believed that a robin had tried to ease Christ’s suffering and had pulled a spine from his Crown of Thorns. Such moralistic storytelling is typical of Hovenden’s work.

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Thomas Hovenden