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Animal Paintings by Famous Artists

Animals have underlined the very fabric of art practice for not only several eras but for several civilisations. In fact, animal paintings can be traced back all the way to prehistoric times—where humans would communicate by drawing on caves, rocks and trees. In these agrarian societies, animals played a tremendous role in their everyday lifestyles. However, the importance of animals has not declined as they surround us, even if we may not need them for the same reasons we did before.



This continuing significance of animals in art is consistently present in art. Some of the most iconic paintings, installations and sculptures have been created with an animal as the central subject. Some of the most popular animal paintings include Jeff Koon’s Balloon Art, Andy Warhol’s Cow, Damien Hirst’s The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, and Napoleon Crossing the Alps by Jacques-Louis David, 1800.



The type of animal paintings and its context or environment depicted in the artwork can be strong civilizational, social, cultural and political markers defining a place or time. For instance, in India, a lot of art created by the Mughal atelier depicts horses and elephants used by the Mughal army and the royalty. In a more contemporary set up, artists depict monkey’s, stray dogs, pet cats, birds that occupy urban spaces. Distinct from the same animals visualised in more rural areas. This page has an entire host of artworks by contemporary Indian artists whose artworks portray the resounding presence of animals around us.


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