Iconic Pieces of Animal Art You May Not Have Seen Before

Artists find beautiful inspiration in animals

By Catalina Barrios

Credit: Shutterstock / Ivailo Nikolov

Animals are one of the most precious parts of our lives. Whether you have adopted a dog, cat, bird, rabbit, or some other pet, you already know they give the most loyal love while expecting nothing in return. Animals can now carry their inspiration far and wide thanks to the appetite of the Internet. For example, check out Marnie the Dog, with over 2 million Instagram followers, and the incredibly adorable JiffPom, with over 8.5 million Instagram devotees!

Credit: Shutterstock / Archv

We love to watch animals on TV and Social Media, read about them in magazines, and especially admire their poignant moments captured in art. The latter is my dad’s favorite hobby. He loves to spend time inside an art gallery or library, absorbing and praising the beautiful work artists create. Animals have been the inspiration for work in various mediums since the dawn of human artistic expression.

Enjoy these wonderful examples, and the next time you are at a museum or gallery, take a closer look at the emotion behind inspiring animal artwork.

Diego Velázquez – Head of a Stag (1634)

 Credit: Velazquez

Velásquez was the most important Spanish painter of the 17th history, famous for realistic drawings. His artwork can be admired at the Museo del Prado in Madrid, Spain. Velázquez depicts this deer without any expression, perhaps to evoke the emotion of life as seen through the eyes of the stag. Velázquez was also the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV; artists (including Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Francis Bacon) paid tribute to the Spanish painter by recreating several of his most famous pieces.

Alex Colville – Dog and Groom (1991)

Credit: Alex Colville

Animals were always an inspiration for Canadian painter, Alex Colville, who dedicated his skills to figurative painting in the portrayal of his country. The painter passed away at the age of 92 (2013), and had a close relationship with his dogs, who were devastated at his passing. In this painting, Colville shows a man lovingly grooming his dog. Such was his love and admiration for canines that Colville once declared, “If it were a question of reincarnation — that is, being embodied again, literally — I wouldn’t mind just being a dog. Their lives seem to me to be entirely innocent”.

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