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Life of a Thanksgiving Turkey According to Art History

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Cheryl Miller - Happy Thanksgiving (2000)

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate! By the way, did you know your turkey is an immigrant? Yep, the most American of birds descended from a Mexican species and were originally bred for Mayan rituals.

Whether you’re serving your first ever frozen turkey, free-range bio-organic non-GMO turkey, Tofurky, or you just don’t give a damn about celebrating Thanksgiving, we can all agree turkeys are pretty cool animals. The greatest masters of art history agree.

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Les Dindons (1977) by Claude Monet at the Musée d'Orsay

Just some cute turkeys, minding their own business.

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Gabriel Metsu - The Poultry Seller (1662)

Homeless or hipster? I’m guessing those ripped jeans cost at least $200 at Urban Outfitters. On the right, your mom trying to find a turkey, very last-minute.

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Still Life, Plucked Turkey and Pan with Fish (1808- 1812) by  Francisco Goya at the Alte Pinakothek

I assume the sight of this naked turkey inspired Goya to paint his most famous painting ever?

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Thanksgiving (1935) by Doris Lee at the Art Institute of Chicago

Maybe we should just order some take-out.

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Turkey Shopping Bag (1964) by  Roy Lichtenstein at the MOMA

This turkey doesn’t look very appetizing.

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 Freedom from Want (1943) by Norman Rockwell at the Norman Rockwell Museum

Back when America was great for cis white males. When minimum wage was about $.43 per hour and the life expectancy of men was around 60 years.

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Twelfth-Night (1662) by  Jan Steen at the Gemaldegalerie

At the end of the night, when you’re aunt had one too many and your dad starts to talk about politics.

Time to go home!


By: Silke

Silke van de Grift

Media Editor