"Foul"

Frans Cuyck van Myopic

A 17th Century Belgian painter, Myopic was stunningly ahead of his time. Centuries before artists could get away with exhibiting animal carcasses and calling it art, he pinned a couple of dead birds from a game bag to a picture frame and titled it "Foul," a pun on the English collective noun for members of the avian species. As the carcasses were unpreserved, the title became increasingly appropriate over the next week or two.


Unlike 20th-Century British artist Damien Hirst, who is paid huge sums of money and given prime or choice museum space for his dead animals, Myopic was taken into custody on a charge of affronting public decency and littering, and spent his remaining years chained to a wall in the Ghent madhouse. His formal name — Cuyck — was pronounced "kook," and may have been the origin of the expression which informally describes an eccentric.

 

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