Home Painting Animal Artists: Renaissance to twentieth Century

Animal Artists: Renaissance to twentieth Century


From the earliest instances, artists have created vivid photographs of animals as a way of manifesting beliefs, theories, and social interactions. Beginning within the Renaissance, artists started finding out the anatomy of animals and included them within the backgrounds of their work. Nevertheless, the specialty of animal portray developed till the Seventeenth century when each day life scenes and in a while searching and sporting themes flourished. Subsequent to this, for hundreds of years artists drew clever scientific illustrations of animals which had been instrumental to the event of pure sciences. On this article, we discover who’re twenty of probably the most gifted artists that portrayed animals following a creative or scientific motivation.

1. Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528)

Dürer was a reputed printmaker, theorist, and artist who created reasonable photographs of animals, lots of which had been later reproduced in engravings and woodcut prints. Notably, Dürer took nice care in portraying the fur of horses, squirrels, or hares with excessive element. Some say his distinctive stream of strains makes his works immediately recognizable. One of many artist’s most acclaimed depictions of animals is Younger Hare, celebrated for its spectacular element and distinction of colours. Dürer most likely painted this watercolor using each a stuffed mannequin and residing animals as examples. Impressively, the picture consists of the reflection of what’s considered the artist’s studio in one of many hare’s eyes.

Albrecht Dürer, Young Hare, 1502
Albrecht Dürer, Younger Hare, 1502

2. Jan Breughel the Elder (1568-1625)

Jan Breughel the Elder was identified for his photographs of unique animals. The artist was capable of examine these species from life given they had been collected by his employers, Archduke Albert and Infanta Isabella,  rulers of the Southern Netherlands (present Brussels). These monarchs weren’t alone of their curiosity in unique animals because the exploration of the Americas spurred an elevated curiosity concerning the pure world and noblemen steadily owned animals from faraway lands. Over time, Breughel created many work of Paradise Landscapes which featured unique animals as a part of bible scenes. The portray we see right here is considered the prototype of that material. Impressed by the story of Noah, the composition is stuffed with totally different species. The central component of the composition is a triumphant horse whose enlarged scale has been interpreted by some as a illustration of the conquests of the brand new world.

Jan Brueghel the Elder, Paradise Landscape with Animals, 1613-1615
Jan Brueghel the Elder, Paradise Panorama with Animals, c.1613-15

3. Frans Snyders (1579-1657)

Snyders was one of the crucial vital Seventeenth-century painters of animals. He included parrots, monkeys, canine, and cats in his still-life scenes of markets and pantries and likewise portrayed them preventing or in searching scenes. The artist realized his craft from the masters as his household’s inn was frequented by well-known artists like Pieter Bruegel the Youthful, additionally on this record. Snyders had a profitable profession. He was employed by Antwerp’s most well-known artists, equivalent to Peter Rubens, to color the animals of their footage. He additionally obtained many commissions for his searching scenes.  One of many symbolic representations of animals that Snyders created and to which he returned commonly is the live performance of birds. Pictures of various sorts of birds perched on bushes, typically with musical scores just like the one we see right here, had been popularized by Flemish artists within the early Seventeenth century as a way to characterize the specified political and social order.

Frans Snyders, Concert of Birds, 1629-1630
Frans Snyders, Live performance of Birds, c.1629-30

4. Diego Velázquez (1599-1660)

Diego Velázquez was a celebrated artist who labored for the Spanish King for many of his life. Ensuing from this prestigious job, he created many expressive portraits of feminine and male members of the the Aristocracy using on stallions or subsequent to canine of various breeds. Notably, the artist’s distinctive naturalistic type marked a breakthrough within the historical past of portraiture and scene portray and influenced future generations of artists. This oil portray depicting a deer’s head is believed to seize the aftermath of a searching scene, a subject well-liked within the Spanish court docket as nearly the entire nation’s monarchs had been captivated with searching. The freshness, immediacy, and naturalism of the animal’s head have made consultants confer with it as a real portrait of an animal. Right here, the animal stares straight at us, the viewers, as if acknowledging our presence.

Diego Velázquez, Head of a Deer, 1626-1636
Diego Velázquez, Head of a Deer, c.1626-36

5. Carel Fabritius (1622-1654)

Carel Fabritius was a Dutch Seventeenth-century painter with a novel type of portray. Throughout his transient lifetime, the artist painted still-life scenes that includes numerous animals. Ensuing from his sudden demise at age 32, the artist solely left behind a small physique of 12 works, every considered one of which is taken into account a masterpiece. A kind of works is the portray of a little bit Goldfinch, a chicken normally stored as a pet, sitting on its feeder and chained by its foot. The work was completed in 1654 and has been celebrated for the artist’s delicate mixing of colours to create the numerous totally different shades of golden-yellow that deliver to life the animal’s feathers.  Apparently, the portray was misplaced for greater than two centuries earlier than it resurfaced in Brussels and was restored in 2003.

Carel Fabritius, The Goldfinch, 1654
Carel Fabritius, The Goldfinch, 1654

6. Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717)

Maria Sibylla Merian was a naturalist, artist, and explorer who paved the best way for the emergence of recent entomology. She was the daughter of an artist and realized to attract and paint from an early age. In her childhood years, the artist began to gather, observe and draw the life cycles of butterflies, an curiosity she stored all through her life. Over time, Maria documented the event of bugs and even launched into a scientific journey by way of Surinam. Her seminal e book, titled Metamorphosis, featured her findings and included her intricate illustrations of bugs’ life cycles subsequent to related meals crops. This method was revolutionary as beforehand bugs had been depicted with none form of context. The picture we see right here is an instance of the scientist’s mastery of drawing because it meticulously portrays the totally different phases of a flying insect’s life cycle.

 Maria Sibylla Merian, Metamorphosis, 1686-1717
Maria Sibylla Merian, Metamorphosis, c.1686-17

7. James Seymour (1702-1752)

James Seymour is understood for his equestrian scenes and is acknowledged as one of many first sporting artists in Britain. James had a privileged upbringing and, though he had no formal coaching, realized to attract by finding out the photographs in his father’s assortment. On the identical time, he copied artworks from the British Museum. The artist’s earliest signed and dated racehorse portray is from 1721 and, over time, he obtained many commissions for horse scenes from noblemen and aristocrats. A few of his racing and searching scenes had been additionally engraved within the 1740s and 1750s. Even when the artist was well-liked and got here from cash, his affinity for horse races bankrupted his father. On this portray, we see a searching scene through which three horses are led by a bunch of hounds. Whereas the proportions of the animals aren’t utterly correct, the artist captured the sensation of pleasure ensuing from such a scene, one thing he skilled commonly.

James Seymour, Huntsmen and their hounds, 1750
James Seymour, Huntsmen and Their Hounds, 1750

8. George Stubbs (1724-1806)

Stubbs’s naturalistic work of horses are thought-about to be among the most correct representations of this animal. The artist’s reasonable portrayal of equines is defined by his anatomical research. He even printed a treaty on the topic titled The Anatomy of the Horse. George’s works had been well-liked and sometimes included most of the noblemen who based London’s Jockey Membership. The portray titled Whistlejacket might be probably the most well-known portrait of a horse. It is usually extensively acknowledged to be Stubbs’s masterpiece. The Arabian chestnut stallion depicted right here had gained many races however by 1762 had been retired. He belonged to a distinguished Marquess, who commissioned Stubbs to color a large-scale portray of his beloved animal. Right here, the horse is the portrait’s principal topic and is positioned in opposition to a golden background.

George Stubbs, Whistlejacket,circa 1762
George Stubbs, Whistlejacket, c.1762

9. Philip Reinagle (1749-1833)

Reinagle was born in Edinburgh however got here to London in 1763 to be the apprentice and in a while the assistant of Scottish artist Allan Ramsay. After Ramsay’s demise, Reinagle pursued his observe and created expressive animal portraits. Reinagle excelled primarily in searching footage and, over time, canine changed into his specialty. His work of canines had been extremely regarded and had been reproduced, for instance, in William Taplin’s Sportsman’s Cupboard (1803). They had been additionally extensively collected by Colonel Thomas Thornton, an eccentric huntsman, and breeder of greyhounds. On the advantage of his animal and sporting footage, Reinagle was elected an affiliate of the Royal Academy in 1787 and have become a full Member in 1812. This portray of a sportsman and his canine displays Reinagle’s deep understanding of the canine’s anatomy and persona. The canine is in a state of alertness, possibly it has noticed a brand new prey.

Philip Reinagle, A Sportsman and His Dog, 1769-1833
Philip Reinagle, A Sportsman and His Canine, c.1769-1833

10. Sarah Stone (1760-1844)

Stone began portray professionally at age 17, and whereas having realized drawing methods from his father, she was principally a self-taught artist. The artist painted over a thousand watercolors of birds, mammals, fishes, and bugs together with many introduced again from Captain Cook dinner’s round-the-world travels. Stone’s work was acknowledged throughout her lifetime. As proof of this, she was invited to exhibit her animal work on the Royal Academy, which was closed to girls on the time. She additionally had many commissions from distinguished collectors. Stone normally based mostly her depictions of animals utilizing her creativeness knowledgeable by the sector notes scientists took on their expeditions. Subsequent to this, she typically copied the specimens introduced again to England. This picture of a inexperienced parrot exemplifies Stone’s spectacular drawing and portray expertise. We will nearly contact the chicken’s feathers!

Sarah Stone, Green Parrot, 1785
Sarah Stone, Inexperienced Parrot, 1785

11. John James Audubon (1785-1851)

John James Audubon was a self-taught ornithologist and artist. He’s identified for the e book The Birds of America, a sequence of 435 life-sized, hand-colored plates of the continent’s avifauna derived from his reasonable watercolor work of birds. Notably, the artist used actual specimens, lots of which he collected throughout his travels, to precisely seize all of their options. This course of steadily concerned killing his topics to rearrange them in life-like postures with a system of wires and pins. The ensuing photographs, made principally with watercolors and pastel crayons, captured the birds in life-size proportions and animated positions, one thing that revolutionized the portrayal of animals for scientific functions. This illustration of a pigeon displays Audubon’s type because the birds are represented with nice element in complicated animated postures.

John James Audubon, Plate from The Birds of America, Mourning Dove, 1827-1838
John James Audubon, Plate from The Birds of America, Mourning Dove, c.1827-38

12. Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863)

Delacroix is likely one of the most vital figures of French Romanticism. As a part of his observe, the artist depicted horses and different species normally frightened or beneath assault. Delacroix spent hours at Paris’ Museum of Pure Historical past sketching the animals he later utilized in his work and likewise took inspiration from the prints that appeared in scientific publications. Through the years, Delacroix’s journeys to unique lands, equivalent to Algiers, impressed him to create scenes involving animals that depict fantasies concerning the Arab world. As an illustration, on this portray of a lion hunt, the artist synthesized research of landscapes, Islamic costumes, and zoo animals to deliver this narrative to life with a dramatic contact. This is likely one of the many variations of this scene the artist revisited between 1856 and 1861.

Eugène Delacroix, Lion Hunt, 1860-61
Eugène Delacroix, Lion Hunt, c.1860-61

13. Elizabeth Gould (1804-1841)

Elizabeth’s Gold was overshadowed by the celebrity of her husband, John Gould, a reputed English scientist who studied birds. It was a group of her letters found by her descendants in 1938 that exposed the vital function Elizabeth had within the work of her life companion. The artist married John at a younger age and, given her inventive abilities, began for instance her husband’s work. Gould entrusted his spouse with the creation of the plates for his first folio publication, A Century of Birds from the Himalaya Mountains. Over time she additionally contributed to a number of different publications and even accompanied her husband on an expedition to Australia in help of his ambition to publish The Birds of Australia. Sadly, Elizabeth died at a younger age however left behind a formidable physique of animal illustrations. The lithograph of two birds we see right here evidences Gould’s mastery of drawing and watercolor and displays her information of anatomy and locomotion.

Elizabeth Gould, The Birds of Europe, vol. 4, pl. 9 (as Bonasia Euroaea)
Elizabeth Gould, The Birds of Europe

14. Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899)

Rosa Bonheur painted animals, like sheep, oxen, horses, and lions, with an astounding quantity of realism. She was the daughter of artist Raymond Bonheur who took her to the Louvre to repeat artworks and likewise inspired her to color scenes of residing animals. Throughout her lifetime, the artist loved success and lived an unconventional life-style for her gender as she was financially impartial and by no means married. The Horse Truthful is Bonheur’s best-known oil portray and has been described as “the world’s biggest animal image.” The portray, which debuted in Paris’ Salon in 1853, exhibits a horse market held in Paris, the place the artist steadily sketched dressed as a person to discourage consideration. This expressive portray completely captures the anatomy of the horses as they’re operating. As additional proof of the celebrity of this art work, it was extensively reproduced and bought as a print throughout Britain, continental Europe, and the US. Even Queen Victoria attended a non-public viewing of the masterpiece.

Rosa Bonheur, The Horse Fair, 1852ΓÇô55
Rosa Bonheur, The Horse Truthful, c.1852-55

15. Edgar Degas (1834-1917)

Impressionist artist Edgar Degas cherished horses and studied this animal’s locomotion in nice element. Ensuing from this curiosity, he drew many sketches of horses and painted race-course scenes characteristically manipulating his horses and jockeys from one image to the subsequent. On this means, most of his figures are repeated throughout totally different compositions. The portray titled Jockeys within the Rain displays the artist’s type because it portrays the tense environment and state of alertness ensuing from the horses and males about to race. The falling raindrops actually add to the constructing pressure featured on this scene.

Edgar Degas, Jockeys in the Rain, 1886
Edgar Degas, Jockeys within the Rain, 1886

16. Cassius Marcellus Coolidge (1844-1934)

Coolidge was a self-taught artist who created playful illustrations of animals. Between 1894 and 1910 the artist centered on portraying anthropomorphic canine. The artist’s most celebrated sequence of canine work are the 18 photographs he did of canines taking part in poker, most of which had been commissioned by Brown & Bigelow to promote cigars. These artworks had been used on promotional printed supplies of every kind. Calendars, specifically, proved to be well-liked nationwide. Over time, Coolidge’s artwork discovered its means into thousands and thousands of houses and in a while turned a part of modern popular culture. The portray we see right here consists of hounds sporting glasses, smoking, and ingesting whiskey. They even appear to be bluffing and have “poker” faces.

Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, Poker Game, 1894
Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, Poker Sport, 1894

17. Henri Rousseau (1844-1910)

Henri Rousseau was a self-taught Publish-Impressionist painter identified for his primitive or naïve type. Notably, the artist began portray at nearly 50 years of age as he beforehand labored as a lawyer, served within the military, and picked up taxes.  Impressed by illustrations from kids’s books, unique cultures, and Parisian botanical gardens, Rousseau steadily depicted jungle scenes with tigers as a means of acknowledging nature’s forces and savage instincts. Rousseau’s amateurish method and strange compositions had been critiqued throughout his time, and his legacy was solely acknowledged in the direction of the top of his life. The portray titled Tiger in a Tropical Storm (Shocked!) was the primary of the artist’s jungle work. It exhibits a tiger illuminated by a flash of lightning getting ready to assault its prey. The colours of the tiger seamlessly mix with those of the jungle we see within the background.

Henri Rousseau, Tiger in a Tropical Storm (Surprised!), 1891
Henri Rousseau, Tiger in a Tropical Storm (Shocked!), 1891

18. Matilda Lotz (1858-1923)

Matilda Lotz was a distinguished animal artist. She was raised within the Lotz Home, in Franklin, Tennessee, which later turned the location of an American Civil Struggle Battle and is now a historic vacation spot. Shortly after the battle, Matilda’s household relocated to California the place she attended  San Francisco’s  College of Design and continued her training in Paris with artist Felix-Joseph Barrias, a well-known animal painter. Over time, Lotz traveled alone all through Europe and North Africa, one thing unusual for an unchaperoned lady. She was additionally near artist Rosa Bonheur, additionally included on this record, and obtained a number of European commissions from members of British the Aristocracy. Like Rosa, Matilda, who was known as “the American Rosa Bonheur,” painted detailed scenes of cattle and totally different cat and canine breeds with a naturalistic contact. 

Matilda Lotz, A Household of Canine, 1904

19. Louis Wain (1860-1939)

Louis Wain was an achieved business illustrator credited for altering individuals’s emotions about felines. The artist’s life was marked by tragedy. Shortly after he married his spouse was recognized with most cancers and, as a means of entertaining her, Wain began drawing cartoons of his cat, Peter. The artist’s cartoons of cats concerned in human-like actions acquired the eye of the newspapers the place Wain labored as an illustrator and changed into a sensation. No matter his fame, the artist at all times struggled with cash and psychological well being. After ending up in a pauper’s hospital, a marketing campaign was launched to ensure he obtained correct consideration, one thing that displays the appreciation individuals felt for him. This watercolor depicts a bunch of humanized cats taking part in musical devices. A few of them are dedicated to their musical endeavors whereas others look like distracted or have tripped.

Louis William Wain, Carol Singing, date unknown
Louis William Wain, Carol Singing

20. Lily Attey Daff (1885-1945)

Lily Attey Daff was a profitable artist and illustrator. She first studied in London and moved to Otago, New Zealand, in 1926. Whereas in Otago, she ready illustrations for scientific books and magazines that analyzed New Zealand’s chicken and flower species. For instance, between 1927 and 1931, she executed watercolors for New Zealand’s Forest and Fowl Safety Society, lots of which had been printed in books and as journal covers. Apparently, Daff additionally painted dioramas and illustrated the pamphlets of the Otago Museum, the place she labored for twelve years. This watercolor of a chicken displays Daff’s dominion of drawing. Right here, the blue-colored chicken is depicted with nice element in opposition to a practical panorama populated by hills that add depth to the composition.

Lily Attey Daff, Takahe, 1939
Lily Attey Daff, Takahe, 1939

Key Takeaways

For hundreds of years the depiction of animals had a secondary function. It wasn’t till the Seventeenth and 18th centuries that the determine of the animalier, or animal specialist, emerged and when searching and racing scenes or these that includes home animals turned well-liked.

  • Animal illustrations had been basic for scientists. Because of this, many artists specialised in depicting animals with nice realism. Solely till not too long ago the work of those artists, lots of whom had been girls, has been acknowledged.
  • The horse is likely one of the most steadily represented animals of all time. First, it was included in portraits of monarchs and historical past work and in a while appeared in sporting, searching, and racing scenes.
  • Home animals, like canine and cats, additionally populated animal work. They had been represented subsequent to their homeowners however, over time, took middle stage.
  • Girls animal artists had been normally relegated. Nevertheless, the case of Rosa Bonheur stands out as she was financially profitable and well-respected.
  • You’ll be able to take the work of those multifaceted artists as inspiration to your subsequent animal portray!

Thanks for Studying!

Thanks for taking the time to learn this put up. I admire it! Be happy to share with mates. In order for you extra portray ideas, try my Portray Academy course.

Glad portray!

Dan Scott
Draw Paint Academy


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