African warblers are a recently isolated family of songbirds. Most of the species were previously in the family of Warblers. A number of molecular studies of warblers and a number of other families in the superfamily Sylvioidea, which includes larks, swallows and tits, have shown that African warblers are not part of the warbler family, but are considered an early offshoot of the entire clade Sylvioidea.
1. Distribution and habitat
African warblers inhabit a number of Black African habitats. It ranges from primary rainforests to its outskirts and open woodlands around Bulbul's Whitethroats, from wooded savannahs to dry thickets and shrubs near Sylvietta, from stony dry areas to pastures of Damaran Great-tailed Warbler, Moustached Great-tailed Warbler and Cape Great-tailed Warbler. The overwhelming majority of species are sedentary, but the mustachioed great-tailed warbler and brown-bellied sylvietta make local migrations in West Africa associated with the rainy season.
African Whitethroats range in size from small sylviettes, 8 cm long and 6.5 grams in weight, to the mustachioed large-tailed warbler, 19 to 23 cm long and weighing 29 to 40 grams. In genera there is a significant difference in appearance: for example, two large-tailed warblers and a red-breasted variegated chest have long rounded tails, while in sylvietta they barely extend beyond the coverts and folded wings.
African warblers consume a wide variety of insects. Bulbul warbler and sylvietta feed in tree crowns and bushes, singly or in pairs, or in small groups, while other species are more terrestrial. There is a niche division, when two species live together, for example, red-faced and long-billed sylvietta throughout the entire range, and one of them feeds in hollows, and the other - in shrubs and at the bottom of trees. Some species, such as the sylvietta and bulbul warbler, have been seen in mixed feeding flocks.
Reproduction is seasonal and usually coincides with the end of the drought and the beginning of the rainy season: the exact timing of species with wide ranges can vary greatly. No information is available for many species, but African warblers are reported to be monogamous and territorial. Within the family, the design of the nest is very different: the sylviettes build nests in the form of a deep pocket hanging from a branch, while the mustachioed and Cape Big-tailed Warblers, as well as the red-breasted variegated breasts - in the form of a bowl woven from grass.
4. Conservation status
Most of the species in this family are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN. One of the species, the Angolan Bulbul warbler, is on the endangered species list. The species is endemic to the forest scarps of western Angola, threatened by deforestation and the spread of the slash-and-burn farming system, and the bird population is estimated at less than a thousand and is still declining. Another potential problem is the white-browed sylvietta subspecies, the state of the number of which remains uncertain, since the Ituri conflict prevents the study of its range. She may have disappeared.
As of February 2018, the family includes 6 genera and 18 species:
- Achaetops pycnopygius P. L. Sclater, 1853 - Great-tailed Warbler of Damara
- Genus Achaetops Roberts, 1922
- Genus Cryptillas Oberholser, 1899
- Cryptillas victorini Sundevall, 1860 - Red-breasted pied-breasted breasts, formerly of the genus variegated breasts
- Macrosphenus kretschmeri Reichenow & Neumann, 1895 - Swahil Bulbul warbler
- Macrosphenus concolor Hartlaub, 1857 - Olive bulbul warbler
- Macrosphenus kempi Sharpe, 1905 - Red-headed Bulbul warbler
- Macrosphenus flavicans Cassin, 1859 - Yellow-bellied Bulbul warbler
- Macrosphenus pulitzeri Boulton, 1931 - Angolan bulbul warbler
- Genus Macrosphenus Cassin, 1859 - Bulbul warbler
- Genus Melocichla Hartlaub, 1857
- Melocichla mentalis Fraser, 1843 - Whiskered Warbler
- Sphenoeacus afer J. F. Gmelin, 1789 - Cape Great-tailed Warbler
- Genus Sphenoeacus Strickland, 1841 - Great-tailed warbler
- Sylvietta philippae J. G. Williams, 1955 - White-bellied sylvietta
- Sylvietta isabellina D. G. Elliot, 1897 - Somali sylvietta
- Sylvietta rufescens Vieillot, 1817 - Long-billed sylvietta
- Sylvietta whytii Shelley, 1894 - Red-faced Sylvietta
- Genus Sylvietta Lafresnaye, 1839 - Sylvietta
- Sylvietta virens Cassin, 1859 - Green Sylvietta
- Sylvietta leucophrys Sharpe, 1891 - White-browed sylvietta
- Sylvietta denti Ogilvie-Grant, 1906 - Lemon-bellied sylvietta
- Sylvietta ruficapilla Barboza du Bocage, 1877 - Red-eared Sylvietta
- Sylvietta brachyura Lafresnaye, 1839 - Brown-bellied sylvietta
An unusual episode from the life of the legendary painter.
Experiencing another depression after the departure of Françoise Zhilot with children, Picasso was looking for a new source of inspiration for creativity. The spring of 1954 brought him a meeting in Vallauris, on the French Riviera, with a cute 19-year-old blonde with luxurious curly hair. Picasso instantly appreciated the girl's merits, made a sketch from life and decided to get to know each other better.
As it turned out, she was not alone. Then the maestro invited her and her fiance to visit his workshop. Then there was an offer for Sylvet to pose for the venerable painter.
According to Pablo, she, like an angel who descended from heaven, helped him through difficult days in his life and prompted him to creative searches. After months of creative stagnation, he again experienced a surge of inspiration and efficiency, and thus a large portrait series of about forty works in various techniques and styles depicting his blonde Muse was born.
The work on the serial portraits lasted about three months, but a close relationship between the master and the model never developed. And the reason was very commonplace: all this time the girl came accompanied by her fiancé, to whom she was already engaged. Sylvette herself, years later, giving interviews, said: "I felt his special attitude, and if I were a different person, if I had not been engaged, perhaps we would become lovers."
And the woman also recalled that she felt rather constrained next to the famous artist, and he kept trying to make her talk, make her laugh, telling her about his childhood, about his love for animals and the circus. And the master proudly demonstrated his work. He was very disposed towards this lovely blonde and used all his charisma and hot Spaniard charisma.
Apparently, this is why the series of portraits turned out to be so extensive and impressive that since then biographers and researchers of Picasso's work rank this unknown girl among the chosen "Picasso muses".
And the girl was really charming. She had a slender figure, a sweet freckled face and beautiful features. Picasso especially liked her blond hair with perky bangs and a highly collected luxurious ponytail. Inspired by Picasso and immortalized this appearance of Sylvette, in a whole series of paintings, drawings and sculptures. Her image has forever entered the annals of world art as the image of one of the muses of the great artist.
Art critics believe that even a decade after these sessions in Vallauris, Picasso returned to the image of Sylvette, which he embodied in the famous Head, a monumental sculpture installed in the Daley Plaza in Chicago in the late 1960s.
According to the stories of Sylvet, at the end of the work, Picasso asked if she wanted to get paid for her work as a model, she refused - what if this would be followed by a request to pose nude? Then the artist invited her to choose one painting and one drawing as a gift.
The girl chose a portrait in profile, painted in a realistic manner and which bears the greatest resemblance to her. The artist signed on top "For Sylvette". She was later forced, grudgingly, to sell it to pay for her life in Paris. After marriage, Sylvet David changed not only her surname, but also her first name. Lydia Corbett under this name she lived to a ripe old age.
Exhibition in Bremen 60 years later
And now, six decades later, the organizers of the exhibition in 2004 in Bremen arranged a surprise for the visitors of the exhibition, and for Lydia a meeting with the past. She was then 80 years old. She had three children and seven grandchildren, she painted and exhibited her watercolor works in various galleries around the world. Surprisingly, many of Picasso's women were already artists, or became them after a relationship with him.
Art critics note that Picasso always loved a restrained, dirty scale, and sought to show in his works not color, but form. Pablo does not have works written "light and easy", he never tried to "make someone beautiful."
However, the portraits of Sylvet, at least some of them, are an exception.
By the way, Sylvette never posed nude - this is a figment of the artist's imagination.
Contemporaries remember him rather "gloomy, sarcastic, sometimes bilious. Anxious, hypochondriac, jealous of his colleagues' fame. Deep, focused, superstitious, prone to mysticism, fear of death, working all the time, working, working ..."
The paintings and sculptures of the ambitious Spaniard are not for pleasant sensations, but in order to penetrate into the deep essence hidden under the external appearance. In simple terms, he always showed the wrong side of life, which was always scary, dark and incomprehensible for him.
The life of the maesto was filled to capacity with fragments of broken women's hearts. Historians named seven names that were closest to the artist as wives and mistresses who bore him children. None of which he made happy, but rather brought to a tragic end.
And we can say with confidence that Sylvette David was very lucky that the meeting with Picasso was just a fascinating episode in her life. Otherwise, it is unlikely that she would have lived a happy life and in her 80s looked so wonderful.
The evolution of Pablo Picasso's self-portraits allows you to see how the artist's work changed from 15 to 90.
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