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Detail from Osborne Gates--The Crane and the Peacock

1952 Paul Manship Born: St. Paul, Minnesota 1885 Died: New York, New York 1966 bronze 29 x 43 x 3 1/2 in. (74.0 x 110.0 x 9.0 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of Paul Manship ©1952, Paul Manship 1966.47.2 Not currently on view

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This bronze gate was one of six commissioned for the William Church Osborne Memorial Playground in Manhattan's Central Park. Each panel shows a tale from Aesop's Fables, a collection of ancient Greek stories that teach moral lessons to schoolchildren. In The Crane and the Peacock, the peacock boasts that his plumage is bright and beautiful. As she flies away, the crane points out that despite her dull feathers she can see the world from the skies, while the vain peacock is stuck on the ground. Aesop's fable persuades us that fine feathers do not necessarily make fine birds. To tell the story, Manship created a circle extending from the crane's right wing through the peacock's train and finally through an invisible diagonal line that links the two birds' eyes and beaks. The delicate clouds give the crane's domain a buoyant feeling, while the dense foliage suggests the weight of the peacock’s earthbound existence.


Animal - bird - crane

Animal - bird - peacock

Literature - Aesop - Crane and Peacock


metal - bronze


About Paul Manship

Born: St. Paul, Minnesota 1885 Died: New York, New York 1966

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Paul Manship