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The Boston Globe

Theater & art

FRAME BY FRAME

A royal ‘Zebra’ by George Stubbs

NEW HAVEN — Do zebras see only in black and white? I have always wondered. If color were in their repertoire it would be almost disappointing — a great, cosmic redundancy. I have been told that their patterned camouflage functions almost like barcode, so that a zebra foal — programmed to recognize its mother’s stripes — can locate her even in the strobe-like chaos of a crowded, moving herd.

Being slightly obsessed with all things striped, I am very partial to this picture, and seek it out whenever I visit New Haven, where it hangs, prominently, in the beautiful Yale Center for British Art.

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