A young woman is waiting for something or someone in an abandoned environment with a bird, not a very attractive bird. It is not an everyday scene, although it seems quite believable. The situation may be possible, but it looks a bit absurd in its contradictions, particularly the one between beauty and ugliness, “the Beauty and the Beast.”
However, as we look more closely, we see also the the contrast between freedom and captivity. Birds can fly, they can escape the Earth, and this ability has made the bird a symbol of freedom to us. But this bird is tethered by the leash, tied up. Does this symbolize human’s hold or restriction on nature? Or is the meaning of the leash to the contrary—that human and animal, human and nature, are inseparable, indissoluble, and even dependent on one another? And then we question why they are there together. Are they traveling? Are they waiting for the bus? Or have they just arrived from a long journey and are they going home?
What is the meaning of this painting? The truth is that the meaning is whatever you, the viewer, perceive it to be. You give it meaning. What do you see?