Animals in Classical Art

Alastair Harden

in The Oxford Handbook of Animals in Classical Thought and Life

Published in print August 2014 | ISBN: 9780199589425
Published online May 2014 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

Animals in Classical Art

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This chapter examines the place and role of animals in art history of the Classical period. It addresses questions concerning animal imagery within the visual culture of the ancient Mediterranean, the prominent place of animals in the canon of Classical art and the reception of specifically animal (as opposed to human) imagery within histories of art, as well as the use of art in the histories of animals. This chapter explains that artists throughout the Classical period paid close attention to the narrative, symbolic, and formal possibilities of animal depiction and animal forms populated many of the small items of day-to-day life. The theme that unites their works is that of human dominion over the animal kingdom.

Keywords: animals in art; Classical period; animal imagery; visual culture; ancient Mediterranean; animal depiction; animal forms; art history

Article.  15952 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Marriage and the Family

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