For a long time, animals have been very closely associated with people. People began to express their attitude towards their four-legged friends and enemies through art. This genre is called Animalistic. It is considered the oldest genre in history. After all, barely our ancestors learned to draw, they began to scrape images of animals on the walls of caves. An example of this is the Lascaux cave in France. Therefore, animalistic can safely be considered the ancestor of all other genres in painting.

The heyday of primitive art came in the late Paleolithic era (35-10 thousand years ago). Ancient people depicted the animals they hunted and those they were afraid of. They scraped images on the rocks and learned to make them multi-colored. On the walls of ancient caves you can see images of bison, horses, boars made of ochre, coal and hematite. People painted these pictures in an effort to systematize life and the environment, to pass on experience and knowledge to their descendants and to pay tribute to nature. Often animals were painted in much more detail than humans.

The Art of Animal Liberation

In later art of ancient Egypt, India and Mesopotamia, animals were depicted in the form of deities. Some animals were considered sacred in these countries: for example, the Cow, the Elephant, the Snake, the Cat, the Falcon, the Ram. Pictures of deified animals appeared on ancient tombs, jewelry and cult objects.

The interest in animals in art was extremely high at all times, up to the Renaissance, in which people were brought to the fore. Although, even in the era of classicism, animals were often depicted on frescoes, mosaics and vases.

Animalistic in Painting

One of the first representatives of the animalistic genre in art is Chinese artist Yuanji (about 1000 – about 1064), famous for his image of monkeys. A few centuries later, he was followed by the Chinese Emperor Xuande of the Ming Dynasty (1398-1435), who painted monkeys and dogs as a hobby.

The Art of Animal Liberation

During the Renaissance, Baroque, Classicism, Romanticism and subsequent styles, animalism was no longer the dominant genre. Nevertheless, many artists specialized in drawing animals. During the Renaissance period, the animalistic genre began to take on a modern look. Animals began to be drawn in detail, artists tried to draw them as plausible as possible, emphasizing their beauty: silky fur or bright color.

In Renaissance Europe, one of the greatest representatives of the Northern Renaissance Albrecht Dürer developed the animalistic genre. While everybody was busy with religion, Dürer was actively studying the animal world. Paintings of famous artists of that time did not often deviate from the accepted norms of painting, but even on the paintings of Leonardo and Raphael, although rarely, still appear animals and birds.

Very outstanding and famous artist and animalist is the Flemish Baroque painter Frans Snyders (1579-1657). He is famous for his still lifes with magnificent hunting trophies.

Animals also appear in the works of contemporary artists. For example, the legendary Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali very often turned to the theme of animals in his works, which opened up an endless space for his irrepressible imagination.

Animalistic in sculpture.

The images of animals in the sculpture are very popular around the world. Bright examples are “Capitol Wolf”, “Braunschweig Lion”, “Bronze Horseman” and “Berlin Bear” – sculptures of animals often become symbols of cities and historical events.

French artist Antoine Louis Bari, who created in the era of romanticism, stands out, especially among sculptors-animalists. He was an unusually talented sculptor, who studied animal anatomy and plasticity in detail. According to him, the image of an animal in motion requires extreme observation, because anatomy alone is not enough. Each animal has its own habits, plasticity and manner of movement, which must be caught to make the image as natural as possible.

One of the first representatives of animalism in painting is a Chinese artist I. Yuanji, who created in the early XI century. He was famous for his unique images of monkeys in scenes permeated with the style of the East. Emperor Xuande of the Ming dynasty continued his ideas. Painting monkeys and dogs were his favorite pastime.

The famous German Albrecht Dürer, who created in the Renaissance, left numerous watercolors and lithographs, quite realistically transmitting images of animals. The Flemish Frantz Snyders is truly an outstanding animalist. His still-lifes with hunting trophies are real masterpieces, decorating numerous galleries and exhibition halls in Europe. One of the most popular paintings by the artist is “Deer Hunting”, as well as “Fox and Cat”.

Animalistic painting in the modern world is very close to the art of photography. Subtle skills and great love for living beings are required to create such masterpieces.

SUZANNE BORDET

Susan Bordet graduated from Montana State University. She tried to combine her love for art and biology into one. The artist’s professional career began in 1980 when she joined a group of artists who actively advocate conservation and respect for wildlife.

In 1989, Susan Bourdet’s paintings were exhibited at the Portland Gallery. Since then, she has published her work in the annual calendar of singing birds, is the author of a painting album “Nature’s Charm” published by Northlight, and is working on a second book for this company. She has released a training video about watercolor painting. She takes part in many exhibitions. She is involved in various organizations for the protection of nature.

Susan is an avid gardener, and successfully combines this interest with art. Hushes in his garden flowers, in addition, the garden has a pond and a self-made waterfall, which attract birds. She loves to share her unique methods and ideas with other artists and nature lovers at her watercolor seminars and workshops.

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JULIA HARGREAVES

Anglo-Canadian artist Julia Hargreaves never studied in professional schools, and her drawing skills were gradually acquired when she had free time from work. She had to work everywhere, even as a truck driver. Together with her husband, Julia Hargreaves moved from England to Canada, starting from scratch, dedicating all her free time to her favorite work. At one point, local gallery owners were interested in her work.

The artist’s paintings impress with their photographic accuracy. The finest brushes and acrylic paints are used. Her name became known far beyond Canada.

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SUEELLEN ROSS

The American artist Sueellen Ross was born in 1941. She received art education at the University of Berkeley in California, then studied the art of illustration of children’s books in New York. Since 1980, she has fully devoted all her time to painting. Her favorite theme is pets and wild animals. The artist complements her paintings with the characteristics of her models. Souaelin paints her paintings in mixed techniques using ink, watercolor, and colored pencils. As a result, she gets unusually reliable portraits of her pets.
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XIAO WEI

Xiao Wei was born in 1963 in Fengcheng, Liaoning Province. He is Honorary Chairman of the Calligraphy and Painting Committee of the World Federation of Collections, Art Consultant of the Academy in North China, member of Liaoning Artists Association and Director of Liaoning Fine Arts Association.
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BEN ESSENBURG

Ben Essenburg – an extremely gifted landscapist, who devoted his work to a realistic image of the beauty of wildlife. In his works, it comes to life, is filled with variety and brightness of colors. Holding our breath, we admire these bright, kind paintings.
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PIERRE HUIG

The dog named Man

Pierre Huig. Uncone, 2011-2012 Image provided by the author, Mariam Goodman Gallery, New York; Esther Schipper, Berlin. Especially for dOCUMENTA (13). © Pierre Huyghe
Pierre Huig. Uncone, 2011-2012
Image provided by the author, Mariam Goodman Gallery, New York; Esther Schipper, Berlin. Especially for dOCUMENTA (13). © Pierre Huyghe

Pierre Huig created islands of another reality inside the well-groomed baroque park in German Kassel, in its center, there is a woman’s statue with a beehive instead of a head, and two dogs roam around it on mud and building garbage. One of them, named Man, is an albino with a bright pink front leg.

The art group “Where Dogs Run”

Where the dogs are running. 1, 4, … 19, 2014 Installation: robotic maze, camera, tripod, projection, computer, software, live mouse. Programming: 144MLN, NEXUS
Where the dogs are running. 1, 4, … 19, 2014
Installation: robotic maze, camera, tripod, projection, computer, software, live mouse. Programming: 144MLN, NEXUS

The project was implemented with the support of the UV SCCI and the Center for Support and Development of Contemporary Art “ZAART”. The image was provided by the authors
In the installation of the group “Where Dogs Run”, the mouse runs through a maze, at each intersection choosing where to turn. However, at the moment of the turn, a virtual projection appears, which continues to move along the route rejected by the live mouse until they collide.

MARTA DE MENEZES

Marta de Menezes. Nature?, 1999-2000 Developed in the laboratory of Professor Paul Breakfield, Leiden University, Holland. The image is provided by the author
Marta de Menezes. Nature?, 1999-2000
Developed in the laboratory of Professor Paul Breakfield, Leiden University, Holland. The image is provided by the author

The butterfly’s wings are asymmetric, one of them is the way all individuals of its species are born, the other was changed by the artist Marta de Menezes in collaboration with biologist Paul Breakfield to a drawing that never happens in nature.

CELESTE BOURSIER-MOUGENOT

Celeste Bursier-Mougenot. From here to ear, 2016 Type of installation in Copenhagen Contemporary, Denmark Photo: © Anders Sune Berg
Celeste Bursier-Mougenot. From here to ear, 2016 Type of installation in Copenhagen Contemporary, Denmark Photo: © Anders Sune Berg

The room decorated by Celeste Bursier-Mougenaud flies with zebra amidines, the only perch for them are electric guitars included in the network, so the birds sing and simultaneously accompany themselves on their instruments.

HAYDEN FOWLER

Hayden Fowler. Back together again, 2017 - 2019 Cage with a living wolf, artist wearing virtual reality glasses The photo of the performance in the museum "Garage". Photo: © Art Magazine
Hayden Fowler. Back together again, 2017 – 2019 Cage with a living wolf, artist wearing virtual reality glasses The photo of the performance in the museum “Garage”. Photo: © Art Magazine

Hayden Fowler is locked in the same cage as the living wolf. The artist has on his head virtual reality glasses, in which he observes the natural landscapes. However, he does not see the real wolf at a stone’s throw from himself.

RIMINI PROTOKOLL

Rimini Protokoll. Win><win. 2017 Aquarium with live jellyfishes Photo of multimedia installation in the museum "Garage". Photo: © Art Magazine
Rimini Protokoll. Win><win. 2017 Aquarium with live jellyfishes Photo of multimedia installation in the museum “Garage”. Photo: © Art Magazine

Spectators are closed in a dark room in front of the screen. The frame voice tells the story of creatures that appeared 670 million years ago and are likely to survive many other species. It is all about a successful strategy.

MARCO EVARISTTI

Marko Evaristti. Helena and Fisherman, 2000 Picture provided by the author
Marko Evaristti. Helena and Fisherman, 2000 Picture provided by the author
Marko Evaristti’s installation was ten blenders with live fish, the devices were connected to a network, and each viewer could press the power button. Of course, that’s what happened.

PAOLA PIVI

Paola Peewee. One cup of cappuccino, and I will go, 2007 Type of installation at the Art Museum Basel, Germany 3000 cups of coffee, live leopard. The image is provided by the author
Paola Peewee. One cup of cappuccino, and I will go, 2007 Type of installation at the Art Museum Basel, Germany 3000 cups of coffee, live leopard. The image is provided by the author

Paola Pivi’s performance in the Kunsthalle Basel was represented by a leopard, who walked around the room and flipped the imitations of three thousand coffee cups. The artist regularly places live animals in a surrealistic context, for example, in another work she bathed a crocodile in whipped cream.

Dead animals in contemporary art

Artnet portal experts have calculated how many dead animals Damien Hirst used in his work. It came out about a million. USA Art News found out the number of sharks and sheep that Hearst needed and remembered other contemporary artists who care about dead flesh.

 

DAMIEN HIRST

The large-scale exhibition of Damien Hirst, which opened on April 9th in Venice, began with a campaign of animal protectors. Activists of 100% Animalistic group dumped 40 kg of manure in front of the entrance to the Palazzo Grassi and left a poster with the inscription: “Damien Hirst, go home! This is my work of art”, reported the Artnet News portal.

The Art of Animal Liberation
The British artist resents the animal protectors because he tends to include dead animals in his art objects. Experts of the same Artnet estimated that the eccentric Hearst used 913 thousand animals over the years. This number included cattle, insects and sea creatures. In addition, the section “the rest” included the dinosaur skeleton and human skull. Experts noted that many of the animals that became the material for Hearst’s works died before he conceived of working with them. But there were also those that the artist ordered on purpose.
Damien Hirst's exhibition "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Consciousness of Living" in Tate Modern, 2012.
Damien Hirst’s exhibition “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Consciousness of Living” in Tate Modern, 2012.
For 13 years (from 1991 to 2014) Hirst worked on the series “Natural History”. According to Artnet specialists, 13 sheep, seven cows of Holstein breed, five calves, four bulls, three colts, a pair of pigs, a zebra, and a brown bear were used for it. There were 36 animals in total. On objects with insects, Hearst took 850 thousand flies, 17 thousand butterflies and five birds.
The Art of Animal Liberation
At the Hirst exhibition, opened in Venice, there are no objects using dead animals. But in the Moscow gallery of Gary Tatintsyan, you can see the work “Rose Window”, which reproduces the medieval window socket of Durham Cathedral. The canvas was made with metalized paint with butterflies.

JAN FABRE

Flemish artist Jan Fabre is the grandson of the famous French entomologist Jean-Henri Fabre. As a child, his grandfather often took the boy to the zoo, where he painted animals and insects, which later became one of the main themes of his work. In addition, they turned into one of Fabre’s working materials. In 2002, Queen Paola of Belgium asked the artist to integrate contemporary art into the interior design of the palace. Thus appeared “Sky of admiration”, one of the masterpieces of Jan Faber. He faced the ceiling and one of the ancient chandeliers in the Mirror Room of the Royal Palace, using almost 1.5 million shells of scarab beetles. The material for the artist’s work was and continues to be brought from Thailand, where the beetles themselves are eaten, and their shells are preserved for decorative purposes.

 

 

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