The Gallic rooster has been associated with France (Gaul) since the Middle Ages. During the French Revolution it became the unofficial symbol of the French nation. In the First World War France was Russia’s first ally.
For this print Goncharova could draw on a rich Russian tradition of rooster imagery and symbolism, including its ancient association with sun, fire, and victory. The artist’s depiction of the crowing rooster standing on the edge of a gun barrel and surrounded by flying cannonballs alludes to the nineteenth-century tale of the golden cockerel, in which a rooster quietly guards the peace until the threat of an approaching enemy, when it crows to announce imminent danger. The combination of traditional and modern elements distinguished Goncharova’s art from other modernist artists.
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