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Whether wild or tame, animals are never too far from humanity. Despite our natural instinct to fear their fickle nature, we cannot help but be amazed by their natural beauty. Big or small, furry or feathered, discover the numerous facets animal paintings have to offer in our animal paintings selection! KAZoART seeks to revolutionise the animal genre. You won’t be disappointed by their outstanding selection of pop art animal paintings!
A distinction should be made between the artist who represents the animal within a group and the artist who makes animal the main subject. A desire to imitate the nature of animals became the primary focus of Jean-Baptiste Oudry and Alexandre-François Desportes, hunting painters, who, from the 17th century onwards, made the animal the main subject of their art (ex: Misse et Lutine, chiens de Louis XV, Cygne attaqué par un chien by Oudry and Débuché de cerfs by Desportes).
These artists use large formats to enhance the epic dimension of animal paintings. Before them, Albrecht Dürer (Le lièvre) and Leonardo Da Vinci (Études de chevaux) had already embarked on this complex exercise, which demands both patience and meticulousness. In the 19th century, Eugene Delacroix spent hours in menageries observing lions and tigers that he would sketch then reproduce in his workshop, on large formats (ex: Jeune tigre jouant avec sa mère). These animal paintings express the artists’ keen interest in orientalism, while emphasizing colour and movement to the detriment of lines.
Humans have always drawn inspiration from the fauna and flora surrounding them. Consequently, even dating back to prehistoric times, animals were present in cave animal paintings (e.g: Lascaux). In ancient times, animals became symbols: the cat, the scarab, the lion and the bear, to name but a few, became allegories of power, strength and life, accompanying emblematic figures, such as kings and Pharaohs (art of physiognomy, hybridization, etc.). The same is true in medieval art, where fantastic beasts (dragons, chimeras, etc.) can be found in illustrations of certain religious scenes (e.g: “St. Micheal, Heures à l’usage de Besançon”).
The animal painting genre only appeared in the Western world in the 17th century with painted representations of hunting scenes. The Age of Enlightenment saw the apparition of zoos and dissection sessions, thus pushing the general public and artists to take an interest in animal biology. Artists studied animal behaviour and movements, and started to create paintings where the accuracy of the animal's features and postures was crucial. In the 19th and 20th centuries, animal imitation was no longer a popular subject in painting, the relationship between animals and humans became central along with the reconsideration of the animal’s status.