Animals have appeared in art throughout history. Ancient cave paintings illustrate various animals including dinosaurs and deer. Some ancient Egyptian symbols include animals as well as ancient pottery. This page includes information on how animals have influenced art and humans throughout history.
(Christian and other religions)
A Bestiary is a collection of short descriptions about all sorts of animals, real and imaginary, birds and even rocks, accompanied by a moralizing explanation. Additional Christian symbols of interest.
Aberdeen Bestiary - The recorded history of the manuscript begins in 1542 when it was listed as No.518 Liber de Bestiarum Natura in the inventory of the Old Royal Library, at Westminster Palace.
Book:An Egyptian Bestiary - A professor of Egyptology at the University of Geneva has created An Egyptian Bestiary, highlighting, in 280 lavish color illustrations, the Egyptian perception of animals as representations of divine creativity, from the secular and mundane world of craftsmen to the sacred realm of priests, pharaohs and gods.
Celtic Animals in Celtic and Welsh mythology are tied in with fertility and vitality, because they are living, moving, and growing. Each animal is associated with a different characteristic
Ancient Egypt - Symbology must be studied in order to understand the culture -- for each nation had its own peculiar methods of expression. See Animals and the Gods of Ancient Egypt for a list of the god and goddesses and their animal spirits. Chart gives the hieroglyphics for the animals and a brief description. Also see Egyptian Animals from Cleveland Museum of Art.
Book:Dictionary of Symbolic And Mythological Animals - This dictionary offers an enlightening account of the role that animals real and fantastical have played in shaping the myths, religion and customs of the world, from primordial times to present day.
Book:Animal Symbolism of the Chinese Zodiac - The signs of the Chinese zodiac are designated by well-known animals rather than constellations, and the twelve animals reflect various characteristics of human behavior.
Pre-Columbian Art: Animals played an important role in the art of ancient Columbia. Animals could be represented realistically or in fantastic guise, in whole or in part, and with or without human characteristics. Works representing animals are called "zoomorphic". Explanation of animals spirits in many cultures from book written by Sir James Frazer. (Pre-Columbian link was broken - a suitable replacement will be found)
Honoring the Animal Spirits (Archive) - In the Native American tradition, man communicated with the Creator through interaction with nature; the birds, the forest, the animals.... Many chose or were given symbolic "power animals" whose strength or character reflected the human character traits of the individuals claiming the "power" of that specific animal. That "tradition" carries on today in our society. Individual Stories included.
Native American – Totem Poles ThinkQuest site created by students. In Native American Culture, each animal represents a different quality or way of life. This site a partial list of those animals and that qualities that they represent.
Werness, Hope B. (Out of print) - The Continuum Encyclopedia of Animal Symbolism in World Art / Hope B. Werness; line drawings by Joanne H. Benedict and Hope B. Werness ; additional drawings by Tiffany Ramsay-Lozano and Scott Thomas. New York.
Animals in Art - Engaging images of animals painted by master artists give this collection of excellent reproductions from London's National Gallery its universal appeal.
Middle School Unit Plan: Our Relationship with Animals - created by Dr. Craig Roland's art education students at University of Florida. It is a work in progress. Students in his class used Wiki Spaces to collaborate on the unit. They designed this after studying "Backwards Design" model made popular by Wiggins & McTighe. Use the side navigation to view resources, suggested artists and more.
Things - Animals Role in Art From Amarillo Museum of Art. Examples of animals alone, animals with other animals and animals with people. See suggested activities with each section.
Online Activities: Animals in Art
Egyptomania (Archive) - learn all about Egyptian animals. Cleveland Museum of Art