Bruno Dillen, who runs the art history website Artinthepicture.com, recently emailed me to tell me about a new animal art section on his website. I’ve not met Mr. Dillen before (ah, the power of the internet!). While the site appears to make its living by selling prints and ‘hand painted reproductions’ of the images, it has a wide selection of animal-themed work from the 1400s to the 20th century. Some of the masters that one would expect to find – Stubbs, Durer, Rosa Bonheur – are here, shown alongside work by M. C. Escher.
The stylistic and interpretive range is great fun to explore. It’s fascinating to compare a 1763 George Stubbs zebra to a 1944 modern art interpretation of one. Some personal favorites on the site: Toulouse-Lautrec’s “Artilleryman Saddling his Horse”; Rosa Bonheur’s “Doe & Fawn in a Thicket” [these look like red deer to me]; and of course Stubbs’ famous “Whistlejacket”.
The site lacks reference to recent masters of animal art, such as Kuhn, Rungius, and Kuhnert, so it’s quite incomplete in that area. But for surfing animal imagery in general art history, it’s interesting. One big plus is that there are a lot of Bonheur paintings on the site; since she’s been rather ignored by the generally chauvinist wildlife art historians, it’s nice to have a chance to explore more of her work.
To get there: www.artinthepicture.com/paintings/tags/animal/. Once you’re here, there are other tags at page bottom to continue your animal-art explorations (eg, clicking on “horse” got me to a Lady Godiva painting … for all you guy types out there).