Thursday, November 7, 2013

Giraffes in Art Throughout History

     Giraffes are portrayed in numerous ways in artwork throughout history. In the beginning, giraffes were displayed in artwork through the artist’s admiration for the animal. Currently, while admiration still holds true behind present day giraffe artwork, there are also some that characterizes the species as foolish, unrealistic, and colorful.

Ancient Artwork:

"If Democritus by any means came back from the other world to this, he'd have a good laugh. Whatever the eyes of the crowd were fixed upon—some hybrid monster, perhaps, half camel, half leopard, or an albino elephant—his gaze would be fixed much more attentively upon the crowd itself than on the spectacle. They'd give him more material for laughter.” -Horace, Epistle II.1
Lorenzo de' Medici Receiving Gifts from His Ambassadors (c.1556) by Giorgio Vasari (Palazzo Vecchio, Florence).
"Therefore it is unnecessary for a prince to have all the good qualities I have enumerated, but it is very necessary to appear to have them. And I shall dare to say this also, that to have them and always to observe them is injurious, and that to appear to have them is useful."- Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince (XVIII)

Modern Day artwork:
-all images were copied from google image search “giraffe art”
Giraffes being depicted in artwork as unintelligent and foolish:


Giraffes being depicted as colorful and unrealistic through modern artwork


Giraffes portrayed more realistically in today’s art:



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