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Unformatted text preview: of air. The reactions of the onlookers represent a whole gamut of human emotions. One poor girl cannot even look on, so upset is she for the bird - her father tries to explain the nature of the experiment while the younger sister can bring herself to look at the experiment, but what a look of concern she has on her face! Others regard the experiment with an air of scientific curiosity while the gentleman on the right seems to be lost in his own contemplations, perhaps on the transience of life and of our power over it. The two young lovers on the left, however, only seem to have eyes for each other and are, it seems, unconcerned about the fate of the bird. The whole scene is beautifully composed and the choice of representing it in candlelight an absolute masterstroke. What do you think? asks the natural philosopher. Should I continue with the experiment and kill the bird or halt it, saving the bird while denying ourselves new scientific knowledge? Which avenue would you chose?...
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- Summer '11