“Young Woman with Yokohama Cockerel,” Neil Rodger (South African). “Long-tailed chickens were exported to France (by French missionaries) and Germany from the newly established port of Yokohama in 1864. Instead of displaying the fowls as Japanese Long-tails or “Jitori”, or by the breed name “Minohiki” as they were called in Japan, they were named after the port city, Yokohama…” (https://livestockconservancy.org/…/yokohama-chicken/). My dear friend keeps laying hens along with a few roosters. She sells her eggs locally. I imagine she would find this “ornamental” breed beautiful, but not desirable for her farm. “They are indifferent layers and go broody after laying only 12 to 14 small, cream/tinted eggs, and generally lay only 60-80 eggs a year.” Of course, the artist painted the stark elegance of the bright white feathers, paired with the delicate fair beauty of the girl in this double portrait. It’s a stunning painting, especially the combination of her flowing red hair and dress, and the bird’s comb and wattles.

This painting offers a perfect opportunity to notice the three ingredients of color… Hue (what color is it?), Value (how light or dark is it?), and Saturation or Chroma (how colorful is it?). Thanks again to photographer Ben Willmore for his brilliant exposition of this complex concept. The girl’s hair is red, her dress is red, and the rooster’s features are red. But are they the same color? No. The hair is more saturated than the dress, darker, and leaning toward yellow (orange), with more contrast between the lightest lights and the darkest darks. The dress is lighter, lower contrast, and less chromatic. The chicken’s features are the purest red (hue), and the most saturated (chromatic), and of the least contrast (difference between light and dark).