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Image: The Owl. Painted by Verners Lazdāns, canvas, oil (2008)

The image of the owl has served as a symbol for wisdom all through the Classical Antiquity times till Hegel. Only the understanding of wisdom itself, its sources and its holders has changed. For example, in a painting by the 17th century Dutch Baroque artist Frans Snyders the owl is represented on a rolled back manuscript (a kind of podium). It is already a cultured owl, who has read a lot, is well educated, with good manners, thus, excelling among other birds. The word owl in French (chouette) means magnanimous, generous. Generos­ity of the owl is generosity of fertility, wealth and wisdom. However, in the Middle Ages the owl was ascribed such vices as laziness and greediness. Besides, this bird also served as a symbol for insanity of the earthly life. Also in African myths and beliefs, the owl has a bad fame. It is considered to be a devilish creature — a witch turned into a bird. In English and German this word (“Owlglass” and “Eulenspiegel”) means jester (a trickster).
The trickster simultaneously possesses both demonic and comic traits. At the same time, the jester must create a transition from death to life, from the old to the new year. There is a paradoxical connection between the light and the night bird — the owl. Thus, the image of the owl has a dual nature; this symbol has both — the good and the dark side.


The same principle of contrast has been used by Verners Lazdāns when painting the LINGMASTER owl — the light against the dark and the mysterious against the naive and comic. It makes us think about emotional state of the human being. Therefore, the painting has a shape of a heart. In its turn, the two owls depicted in the LINGMASTER logo represent two different languages reflecting each other in a good translation where the same idea is embodied in different wording like the same shape of the owl is rendered in different colors.


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