Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism. Become a Member »

Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.

Bosch’s bird, come to life on the NYC subway (all images courtesy of Rae Swon unless otherwise noted)

A hellish, ice-skating bird person from Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Temptation of St. Anthony” has come to life, roaming the New York City subway. The charming-yet-demonic costume came to life via the hands of Brooklyn-based artist Rae Swon, who works meticulously with needle felting to render mythical, nostalgic art garments.

The person-sized fowl comes from the raucous triptych of a meditating Saint Anthony, surrounded by a debaucherous hellscape from the Boschian dimension. Swon, a milliner, pinpointed the bird from the massive oil painting, her interest piqued by the metal funnel (and spindly branch) atop its head.

A close up of the ice-skating bird (juxtaposed with a dead, real bird for scale)

Swon crafts a series of quirky and extremely unique oddity artworks, which she sells on her Etsy. There, the Hieronymus Bosch bird is described:

This charming Bosch creature was needle felted, which is a labor-intensive process in which the creator stabs loose wool repeatedly with a barbed needle until in mattes together into a solid felt form. He’s also made from fabric, paper, paint, ball, a stick and a funnel.

The artist adds, “I recommend attaching something squishy, like a sweater or pillow, to the back of your neck to give yourself a hunchback.”

Sadly for you, the costume is currently sold out on the artist’s Etsy.

The delightfully demonic bird went viral after the artist Alexis Moore posted it on her Twitter on September 11. Within a day, a lucky patron purchased the costume (which was favorited by 58 people before it ultimately sold).

If you’re regretting missing out on the one-of-a-kind costume, fret not. The five-star-reviewed artist offers a number of hand-crafted costumes, including a Renaissance-era Ram head, complete with an Elizabethan neck ruff and cape, or the severed head of Saint John the Baptist, perfect for carrying Halloween candy (or, if it’s your style, an everyday purse.)

The voyeuristic fowl waiting for the express train

The bird and another eerie Rae Swon creation

A closer look at the bird

Hieronymus Bosch, “The Temptation of St. Anthony” (image via Wikimedia Commons)

The Latest

Required Reading

This week, the National Gallery of Art finally acquired a major work by Faith Ringgold, the director of The Velvet Underground talks film, North America’s Hindu Nationalist problem, canceling legacy admissions, and more.

Did Judy Chicago Just Troll Us?

Nowhere in the museums’ advertising blitzkrieg for the performance were we told to bring our wildfire-season masks as well as our covid masks, and covid masks don’t prevent smoke inhalation.

Jasmine Weber

Jasmine Weber is Hyperallergic's news editor. She is an artist and writer based in Brooklyn, particularly interested in Black art histories and visual culture....