Animal art History
A brief history of Animal Art
Animal artworks can be traced back to prehistoric times with some of the earliest depictions found in the Altamira Caves in Northern Spain. Thought to be 65000 years old and painted by the Neanderthals over a dozen images have been discovered.
Roman culture often depicts animals on objects such as coins, vases and mosaics along with wall art, some great examples can be found in the Museum of London.
During the middle ages (500-1500AD) animals emerged as symbols and appeared in religious works such as Buoninsegna’s ‘The calling of the Apostles Peter and Andrew’.
The fifteenth century saw animals become a serious subject matter for artists and there are a number of Renaissance artists who created stunning work depicting animals, such as Mantegna’s ‘Bird perched on a branch with fruit.’ With new discoveries overseas scientists and natural historians used illustrators to aid in depicting their findings and the late sixteenth century became an important time for wildlife art. The utilisation of woodcut techniques brought the images to a wider audience with mass volume printing. A good example of work from this period can be found in Francis Willughby’s Ornithology which featured illustrations from a variety of sources.
The industrial revolution and copper plate presses were to bring exciting new opportunities for animal artists. The Victorian era was a rich period in history for animal art with importance given to accuracy and detail in their portrayal of the subject matter. There
Altamira Caves - http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/310
Museum of London - https://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/museum-london
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